Horizon Institute is pleased to announce the publication of Seeking Justice for Rape in Somaliland: The Role and Limitations of the Criminal Justice System. This 51-page report is based on over 100 interviews with judges, prosecutors, investigators, lawyers, village committee members, elders and health professionals from the urban and rural areas of all six regions of Somaliland between 2015 and 2018.
On 8 January 2018, Somaliland’s House of Representatives passed a Sexual Offences Bill that promises to overhaul the outdated provisions of the Penal Code on rape, a milestone welcomed by Horizon. The reality, however, is that changing Somaliland’s criminal laws alone will not automatically ensure the effective prosecution of rape.
Seeking Justice for Rape in Somalilanddocuments multiple barriers to prosecuting rape, including the reluctance of women and girls to report rape, for fear of shame and stigma, the cost of taking a case to court, inaccessible services, weaknesses in the criminal justice system and insufficient support services. As a result, many rape cases continue to be resolved through Somaliland’s traditional form of justice, known as Xeer.
In September 2014, Somaliland’s Attorney General, Hassan Ahmed Adan, issued a directive ordering prosecutors and judges not to accept customary agreements in rape cases, an encouraging initiative which has had some impact in major urban towns, particularly in Hargeisa.
Horizon Institute is publishingSeeking Justice for Rape in Somalilandto support the Attorney-General’s directive, to encourage dialogue and coordination between the relevant justice sector actors and health professionals, to promote a comprehensive approach to ending impunity for rape in Somaliland and ultimately to help stop perpetrators from reoffending.
You can read the full report here. You can view the press release in English here. You can view the press release in Somali here.