Somalia’s president dissolves the Judicial Service Commission again

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
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On October 12th, 2022, the state broadcaster announced that Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had disbanded the country’s Judicial Service Commission and anti-corruption commission.

In a decree on Sunday, the president instructed the cabinet to form the commissions afresh. The commission was appointed two years ago, amid an uproar by opposition parties led by the current president, who argued that the caretaker government lacked the mandate to approve members of the body.

The constitution of Somalia states that the term of office for the members of the Judicial Service Commission is five years, renewable only once. The Judicial Service Commission is a body that oversees the operations of the judiciary and recruits judges. 

The Judicial Service Commission must be comprised of nine members, who are as follows: 

  1. The Chief Judge of the Constitutional Court
  2. The Chief Judge of the High Court
  3. The Attorney General
  4. Two people who are members of the Somali Bar, appointed by the Somali Law Society for a four-year term
  5. The Chair of the Human Rights Commission; 
  6. Three people of high reputation within Somali society who are proposed by the Council of Ministers, and then appointed by the President for a term of four years, renewable only once.

This, however, is not the first time that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has dissolved this commission. In a decree issued on the 11th of March 2015, the president indicated that the existing judicial service commission is unconstitutional and is nonparallel to the establishment of the judicial service law.

At the time, the judicial service commission had been at loggerheads with former minister of constitutional affairs Farah Abdulkadir, who was a close ally of the president and was key to the decision made by the president to dissolve the commission.

The then Presidential adviser on Law Mr. Omar Mohamed Abdulle said that the previous commission was not based on the constitutional requirement and also had mishandled sensitive matters of the justice.

It is not clear when a new commission will be instated as this creates a vacuum in the judiciary of an already turbulent country

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