1.1 Sentencing is the process of imposing a punishment or penalty for a criminal offence of which an accused
person has been convicted following a trial or has pleaded guilty. Typical punishments include the loss of
liberty (in the form of imprisonment), the loss of property (in the form of fines or compensation or restitution
orders), or the loss or restriction of other rights and freedoms (for example, police surveillance). The product
of the sentencing process is a sentence, which is an order of the court specifying the punishment or penalty
to be meted out to a person who has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty to, committing a criminal
offence. In Somaliland, there are two kinds of punishment: principal punishments and accessory penalties.
The former are imposed by a judge upon conviction of an accused person; the latter are imposed by operation
of law as a consequence of conviction. In other words, accessory penalties are imposed in addition to the
principal punishments. More significantly, whereas the judge has a considerable measure of discretion over
principal punishments, accessory penalties are not discretionary and must therefore be imposed where the
Penal Code requires them.
1.2 This Policy Framework highlights the challenges faced by the Somaliland criminal justice system that
impact on sentencing, establishes the objectives of sentencing, and identifies the policy principles that will
ensure the realization of these objectives.
- Statement of the Problem
2.1 The Somaliland criminal justice system faces a number of challenges that impact on sentencing. The
principal challenges are:
- a) Judges enjoy considerable discretion when it comes to making sentencing decisions. There is a need
to ensure that this discretion is not only exercised responsibly, equitably and with accountability, but
also promotes consistency in sentencing.
- b) Mechanisms for coordinating the work of the various agencies of the criminal justice system do not
- c) Imprisonment is the predominant form of punishment, which puts significant pressure on the few
available prisons, some of which are overcrowded and fail to meet international standards. Further,
child offenders are not separated from adult offenders due to congestion in the prisons.
- d) The formal criminal justice system does not extend to some parts of the country. As a result, some
criminal offences are handled by traditional and/or Islamic dispute resolution mechanisms.
- e) The criminal justice system lacks the capacity to manage non-custodial sentences.
- f) The prisons do not have rehabilitation programs, though vocational training programs exist in some
- g) Although the Penal Code gives the courts power to remit sentences, offenders do not often get
remission for their sentences due to poor management of records in the prisons. Further, the courts
have not been effective in their role of ascertaining the punishment meted out to offenders