Somaliland: Chief Justice Halts Half Composed and Covert Sitting of Justice Commission


CJ Yusuf

By: Osman A.M

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Chief Justice & the Head of Justice Commission Mr. Yusuf Ismail has called off a secretly half composed sitting of members of the commission who were meeting judges from Hargeisa regional Court without his knowledge.

The Hon. C.J. was irked by the covert nature in which the commission was conducting its business without the approval of his nod amidst possessing the powers to order its sittings.

It is reported by sources privy to the ongoing that the Chief Justice upon receiving a tip off on the alleged meeting, came running towards the venue of the meeting and on entering, he started hitting the table & ordering it to be stopped thenceforth which orders were taken as instructed by the 5 members of the commission. The angry C.J. then inquired to be told the reasons why the meeting was called without his authority.

It is not known what matter of urgency instigated the half composed commission to conduct its sittings but the undisputable fact is that there are bench members who are in support of the Government whereas another group are dissenting to the authority because they are still nursing grievances of interference earlier leveled against the Executive who they had averred of usurping the principle of separation of powers and thereby negating independence of various branches of Government. The latter group is according to observers seen to have the blessings of the opposition parties.

Reliable sources further disclosed that the 5 members of the commission were in a closed meeting with judges of the city Courts & were being furnished with issues not in the public domain and that they did not want their boss Hon. C.J. to be privy, due to his unyielding support to the appointing authority. These confrontations led to Judges not adjudicating matters between litigants who were moving helter scattering up & down on the corridors of justice.

The Executive was the first to ignite fire when it queried the benches’ modus operandi by acquitting die hard criminal elements amidst the Attorney General Chambers & the police concluding their investigations. This was immediately followed by the disclosure that some cabinet members interfere with proper functioning of Judiciary.

Constitutionally, the existence of such allegations is to be directed to the Justice commission that among other functions is mandated to hearing & giving directions upon affording a fair hearing to the contested parties. During that time, the C.J. who also doubles as the head of the commission stated that he has not been officially notified on the nature of the grievances leveled against ministers to the chagrin of colleagues at the bench.

Political leaders in opposition particularly those in Wadani party subsequently threw their weight behind the aggrieved Judges concurring that Executive interference is rampant with minister having an interest in suits before the Courts calling or writing to the presiding judicial officials.

The war of words between the 2 branches of Government seemed to have gone under the table though this latest development might reignite a renewed war resulting to cards being played live in public.