About the Office
As with many aspects of Somali law and governance, the status and role of prosecutors within the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States is still a point of discussion under the auspices of the Somali Justice Model. Historically, Somalia’s AGO was established under the Organization of the Judiciary Act (OJA), Leg Decree 12 June 1962, No 3, and subsumed within the structure of the judiciary. Article 15 of the OJA, for instance, defines the Attorney General and his/her deputies as members of Judiciary.
Although the OJA is currently in force, there is some indication that the model for the AGO it has established may change. The Federal Republic of Somalia Provisional Constitution, which was adopted in August 2012, for example, establishes an independent AGO that would incorporate the prosecutorial functions. The Provisional Constitution is still under Parliamentary review, but it is possible that the AGO will be spun off as an independent organ of government.
Similarly, the structure of the Somali federal system, which is still under review, will affect the role of the AGO. One of the issues yet to be resolved is the relationship between the AGO and the attorney general offices of the Member States. The justice models being considered can be divided into three options. First is a dual system in which each Member State has its own attorney general office that is distinct and separate from the federal AGO; second is a unified system in which the federal AGO will be responsible for criminal prosecutions on both the federal and Member State level; the third is a hybrid system in which the federal AGO would issue general instructions and guidelines relating to prosecution policies that would be adopted by attorneys general at the Member State level.
The duties of the AGO are spread through a number of statutes, most prominently the Somali Code of Criminal Procedure and the OJA. Article 8(1) of the OJA lists the obligations of the AG at to:
- investigate, institute, and conduct criminal proceedings
- institute or intervene in civil proceedings when it is considered to be in the public interest to do so
- file appeals in civil and criminal matters