Somalia’s judicial system in turmoil, President fires judges

Published: March 14, 2015

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud (R) and Chief of Justice AVV Aidid Ilkahanaf while attending a ceremony in Mogadishu.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud (R) and Chief of Justice AVV Aidid Ilkahanaf (L) while attending a ceremony in Mogadishu.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has dismissed the Judicial service commission, prompting turmoil again in the judiciary system.
In a presidential decree released on 11th March but disclosed to the media on Saturday, it was claimed in the statement that the commission’s appointment did not comply with the country’s constitution.
The move did not affect the Chief justice and the controversially appointed Attorney General who will both remain in office, as stated in the decree.
However, the Court’s Chief Justice AVV. Aidid Abdullahi Ilkahanaf together with the judges fired opposed the President’s move, saying that it is ‘’violating’’ the judiciary independency and ‘’unconstitutionally’’.
‘’ The President’s decree doesn’t act in accordance with the constitution….. There is no any power or law that lets the President to fire judges or a national institution,’’ said the Chief Justice on Saturday after holding an emergency meeting with the fired judges.
Somalia President further stated in the decree that there were complaints from the civilians on the way the judiciary has been operating, which as it is said in the statement, that they were ‘’injustices’’.
On several occasions, AVV. Ilkahanaf accused Somali President of running “systematic campaign against the country’s institutions … and the judiciary in particular.”
The rift between the Somalia leader and Supreme Court is believed to have started in October last year, following the firing of the ex-minister of Justice Farah Abdulkair, a close President aide. It led to more than two months of Political bickering between President Mohamoud and the then Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, who was later impeached in a Parliamentary vote.
In a controversial move, President Mohamoud controversially appointed Ahmed Ali Dahir as the new attorney general, though the Chief Justice criticized and called it “unprecedented assault” on the independence of the judiciary.
Analysts and commentators believe that the new move is a symbol of President’s expansion of powers to the judiciary system from the legislatives and executives.
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