Somaliland: Britain Facilitates Digitalization of Judiciary


Court clerks in Hargeisa

By: Abdikadir Askar
Somalilandsun- -Somaliland’s justice system took another leap forward towards its goal of “Justice for All” with the handover a computerised system to track criminal cases and make the previous system of paper files and notes obsolete.

“This is fantastic. It will be so effective,” said Justice Minister Ahmed Farah Adare at the launch . “At the click of a button you’ll be able to find out everything you need to know about a case.

Monday’s ceremony marked the handover of computer terminals and software installed by the British development agency Axiom, with British government funding, and the start of a pilot project to computerise all legal records in a modernisation drive.

“This is just a start,” said Chief Justice Adam Haj Ali. “We are taking things slowly to make sure the system works,’ he told guests and seven people receiving certificates after completing a course in how to use the device.

“We hope to extend this system to all regional courts and then to other government organisations, such as Immigration so that no-one with a case pending against them or a warrant could get away at the airport, for instance,” he said.

Charge sheet

Axiom’s Joe Holmes, who oversaw the installation of the system, said it could help Somaliland “equal of even exceed case management systems in the rest of the East African region.“It’s a huge step up from the current system.”

The system allows registrars to enter all sorts of personal data on vulnerable groups such as street children, poor, women or youth and to identify which category of crime they have been charged with – anything from terrorism to sexual or gender-based violence.

It also tracks the gender of the judges involved and their judgements in cases, allowing analysis of trends in the judiciary and in crime patterns.

Judiciary Somaliland is updating its judicial system, police and counter terrorism apparatus with help from the British government and other donors keen to stem the spread of terrorism in East Africa and maintain Somaliland’s record for stability in a turbulent region.