New Ministry of Justice building provides major boost to rule of law in Somaliland

29 January 2014 - A new Ministry of Justice building has been inaugurated in Hargeisa, providing a major boost to justice and security in Somaliland. The building, in the heart of the Somaliland's capital city, provides a modern, safe and comfortable environment to house the Minister of Justice and his team, as well as representatives from the judiciary. It has been delivered jointly by UNODC and the United Nations Office for Project Services ( UNOPS), as part of UNODC's Maritime Crime Programme.

The UNODC Maritime Crime Programme started in 2009 with a mandate to help one country, Kenya, deal with an increase of attacks by Somali pirates. UNODC is now working in several countries in the Somali Basin region - Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, and Somalia - to support efforts to detain and prosecute piracy suspects according to international standards of rule of law and with respect for human rights. It also assists countries in increasing judicial, prosecutorial and police capacity, and helps institution-building  with the creation of appropriate offices and the provision of equipment.

Now in its fourth year of operation, the programme has already helped Somalia with the upgrade of its prisons and courts. UNODC has already completed work on a new prison in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, and is currently constructing and refurbishing prisons in Puntland, Somalia. The new Ministry of Justice building is yet another effort to enhance the region's capacity to tackle piracy. 

"Within the framework of the Programme, UNODC has been engaged in the rehabilitation of the prison system in Somaliland to receive convicted Somali pirates from other countries; but it is also important that the Ministry of Justice, who institutionally supervises the prison services of Somaliland, has adequate infrastructures for better serving the interests of the nation" said UNODC's Regional Coordinator Alan Cole.

The building's inauguration last week was attended by Minister of Justice Hussein Ahmed Aideed, the Vice-President and Acting President of The Republic of Somaliland, Mr. Abdirahman Abdallahi Ismail Saylici, as well as ministers and high-level officials from the Government and high representatives from different law enforcement and security forces of Somaliland.

The construction of the Ministry of Justice building in Somaliland was supported by UNOPS, an operational arm of the United Nations that provides project management, infrastructure and procurement services with a focus on sustainability and national capacity development.