< < >

1963 | Criminal Procedure Code of Somalia

The Somali Criminal Procedure Code of 1963 (still curent) contains just a few provisions of relevance in relation to litigation for (sexual) crimes and crimes of security forces.

Article 14 provides that injured parties may claim damages from the accused, through a court, in relation to civil liabilities arising from an offence. Art. 274 provides that in proceedings for restitution or compensating for damages a criminal conviction will serve as res judicata in relation to the responsibility of the accused.

Art 23 (1)(c) stipulates that for the purposes of police investigations, the term ‘police’ shall include ‘any other military or para-military Service and any civil organ of the State which is required by law to collect information about, and to enquire into, specified types of offences and to provide the proof necessary for the application of the penal law. While it is not clear whether or not para-military groups aligned with the government in fact bear such a responsibility, this article raises the concern that investigative processes in relation to crimes by (para-)militaries are likely to lack transparency.

 A very problematic provision in relation to sexual crimes against women is Art 197(d) that provides that ‘when a man is prosecuted for: a crime or attempted crime of sexual violence, or ii) a crime or attempted crime against modesty or sexual honor;on a woman over 16 years of age, evidence may be given to show that the woman was of generally immoral character.

Given the strong bias against the validity of a wmen's word against a man's in Somali culture, and the great detriment to a woman's marrigability and safety in the social order if her reputation is cast into doubt, this provision is an added disincentive to those already afraid to report and bring to court sexual crimes committed against them. The fear of reputation damage and social exclusion, as well as of reprisals, already discourage the majority of victims from coming forward, as reported in several reports in our Somali reports section.