Somalia: Warlord MPs do not deserve immunity


A warlord masked as a boyBy: Liban Ahmad

Few days ago the Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr Mr Mohamed Osman Jawaaari and the supreme court head, Aidedeed Ilkahanaf held a meeting in Mogadishu . They said they t they are against any efforts to press charges against the new MPs. This troika’s decision has dashed any hope people have in seeing perpetrators of human rights violations in court. It is also against commitment to transitional justice.

Resolution 2067 (2012) adopted by the Security Council at its 6837th meeting, on 18 September 2012 notes ” the importance of transitional justice processes in building lasting peace and reconciliation in addition to strong institutions to Somalia, and stressing the role that all Somalis, including women, civil society and government actors, will play in the reconciliation process through an inclusive and consultative dialogue, notingthe extension of the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia for one year.” And in the statement by the Secretary-General’s Mini-Summit on Somalia issued on 26 September participants of the Summit “…pledged to rapidly enhance support to the justice sector, including support to an independent judiciary that contributes to accountability and counters impunity.”

On the day the new Somali MPs were electing a president for Somalia’s president, the Parliamentary Speaker facilitated an illegal process after he put forward for discussion men whom the Selection Committee denied membership in the new Parliament for failure to meet the criteria. Men who were allowed to join the parliament on that dual include warlords. In his pre-election CV president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud included the role he played in ending the Green Zone in Mogadishu created by militias loyal to the late General Aideed and Ali Mahdi, the former interim president.

Warlords did not only wreak havoc on Mogadishu and its inhabitants but they also prevented people like Hassan Sheikh Mohamud from coming to the political scene before they were defeated. No any other clan has sent warlords or people with questionable past because of the civil war to the new parliament. Warlords made Mogadishu to be known as a city where property rights are violated, where armed clan militias victimised unarmed communities for not belonging to an armed clan militias and where innocent people were killed because of their clan identity. Without the provocation by warlords through Alliance for Counter-Terrorism in 2006 Union of Islamic Courts, with timely public support, would not have united to vanquish warlords. The president did not belong to a faction, we were told. Why president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud proposed or agreed to an immunity motion for warlords is not known. Immunity for warlord MPs is a travesty of justice.

Liban Ahmad