Interregional Consultative Conference on the Somali Constitutional Review Process

The Foundation supports the Somali Constitutional Oversight Committee with the facilitation of consultations on the second draft constitutional amendment document

From 11 to 13 November 2020, the Max Planck Foundation facilitated an Interregional Consultative Conference for the Constitutional Oversight Committee of the Somali Federal Parliament (OC), the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC) and the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs with delegations from the Constitutional Affairs Committees of the Federal Member State Legislative Assemblies, State Ministries of Constitutional Affairs and civil society representatives. The conference took place in Mogadishu and was officially opened by HE Salah Ahmed Jama, the Minister of Constitutional Affairs of the Somali Federal Government.

On the first day of the conference, and on behalf of the OC, the Foundation provided an overview of the history of constitution-making in Somalia, an assessment of the current stage of the constitutional review process and presented on the main features of the second draft constitutional amendment document prepared by ICRIC upon the instruction of the OC. Individual members and legal advisors of the OC and ICRIC then explained in more detail some of these amendment proposals and the thinking behind them. On the second day, the participating delegations were given the opportunity to comment on these amendment proposals and made submissions aimed at informing the drafting of a final constitutional amendment document. On the third day, technical working groups were formed, which were asked to substantiate some of these submissions and to formulate concrete proposals for the drafting of the final constitutional amendment document. This drafting process is expected to commence within the next days and will be conducted by ICRIC with the guidance and upon the instructions of the OC.

The OC, ICRIC and the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs had invited delegations from all five Federal Member States. However, only the governments of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and South West State accepted this invitation and sent their delegates. The Federal Member States of Puntland and Jubaland refused to participate in this consultative conference, demanding for the constitutional review process to be deferred to a later time. Therefore, at this point, it remains uncertain whether the constitutional amendment document developed by the OC and ICRIC will be adopted during the current term of the Somali Federal Parliament, or will be forwarded to the next term of Parliament. The constitutional review process will continue during the next term of the Somali Federal Parliament when solutions for the outstanding politically contentious issues need to be found.

The finalisation of the Somali constitutional review process is a prerequisite for the successful conclusion of the Somali state-building process. The Foundation continues to support this important process through the provision of technical and legal advice for the Constitutional Oversight Committee. This support is offered in the framework of European Union funded project “Legal Capacity Building and Technical Support for the Somali Federal Parliament”.