By Goth Mohamed Goth
The Chairman of Somaliland High Court and Constitutional Court Prof. Aden Haji Ali Ahmed currently away on a working tour this week attended two in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.
The first workshop being the Open Law- Africa Conference 2015, the free Access to Law in deepening Rule of Law and Democracy under the theme “Partnering to Sustain Free Digital Access to Law in Africa “was jointly organized by African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLii) , SAFLII ( South African legal information institute), University of Cape Town and Kenya school of Law ,was held from the 12-13 October in Nairobi, Kenya.
The workshop is the first of a series of a number of regional workshops to be held in Africa, with the next ones organized in Ghana and South Africa. Free access to law is already well-established in East Africa, with Kenya Law, the Uganda Legal Information Institute, the Seychelles Legal Information Institute and Abyssinia Law serving their countries’ laws for years.
Africa is marked with critical gaps in legal information availability: its collection; processing; preservation and dissemination. This has a negative impact on the continent’s development, given the role that the availability of the law has in stimulating investment and strengthening democracy and the rule of law.
It is important to ensure that African citizens gain the necessary leverage from having the ability to freely access the laws that govern them, know their legal rights, understand the limits of public power and enforce accountability.
The justice sector of countries such as South Sudan, Somaliland, Rwanda and Tanzania has expressed interest in making their legal systems more accessible and transparent. The Open Law – Africa workshop is the platform to discuss their participation and how they can benefit from the regional open law community.
Dr. Willy Mutunga , the Kenyan Chief Justice in his opening speech reiterated the need to establish a regional open law community as a platform to discuss opportunities for collaborations that create sustainable free access to law in East Africa and beyond.
Prof. Aden Haji Ali Ahmed, Somaliland Chief Justice while addressing the forum during the opening ceremony of the conference said , “Although African countries separate and distinct law systems doesn’t mean they can’t adopt clear polices meant to consolidate and strengthen partnerships that will facilitate sustainable free access to law services in Africa.
On the other hand, Somaliland Chief Justice Prof. Aden Haji Ali Hussein briefly met with his counterpart Dr. Willy Mutunga , the Chief Justice of Kenya , the two officials are expected to meet again on the on Thursday to discuss opportunities for future collaborations in the Judiciary sector between the two nation.
The second meeting the first of its kind ever to be held in the African continent under the theme of “The 1st Africa Colloquium on Environmental Rule of Law – Towards Strengthened Environmental Governance, Justice and Law which opened on 14-16 October 2015 in Conference room 1, United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya.The Colloquium is organized by UNEP in partnership with the Office of the Chief Justice of Kenya, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Judiciary Training Institute of Kenya (JTI).
The objective of the Colloquium is to advance the debate on effective environmental governance in the Africa. Promoting the rule of law requires measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of the law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness, and procedural and legal transparency.