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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article3 May 2024Directorate-General for International Partnerships3 min read

Bolstering Advancements in Law Enforcement and Justice in Somalia

Somalia has taken significant steps towards enhancing its justice and security systems with the inauguration of new facilities, like the Criminal Investigations Directorate and the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex. 

Inauguration of the new CID Headquarters in Mogadishu, March 2024 @UNOPS_Somalia.
Inauguration of the new CID Headquarters in Mogadishu @UNOPS_Somalia.

Addressing Somalia’s Challenges

For over three decades, Somalia has contended with debilitating security threats ranging from terrorism, organised crime, banditry to piracy ― all compounding poverty, underdevelopment, and instability across the Horn of Africa nation. However, lack of infrastructural facilities and resources has severely hamstrung efforts by law enforcement agencies, to adequately address these challenges.

Recognizing the critical need to enhance operational capacities, the construction of the new Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) headquarters was undertaken through the Joint Police Programme (JPP), a Somali-led initiative funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, Germany's Federal Foreign Office, and the United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. The JPP, a multi-year initiative implemented by UNSOM Police, UNDP, UNOPS, and the African Union Transitional Mission to Somalia (ATMIS), collaborates with the Federal Government of Somalia. The program aims to comprehensively transform the Somali Police Force (SPF) with a substantial budget of $54 million.

The new facility, built to the highest standards, will provide a much-needed operational base for the CID and allow its officers to carry out their duties more effectively. It also marks a significant milestone in ongoing efforts to enhance community safety and security. The facility is designed to provide decent living conditions for pre-detainees, with high consideration for human rights, by incorporating separate holding facilities for male and female prisoners, as well as accessibility features for individuals with mobility needs.

As Deputy Ambassador of the European Union to Somalia, Thomas Kieler, noted, Somalia has made significant strides in delivering justice, addressing insecurity and countering terrorism.

The role of the police and the rule of law sector are a cornerstone for Somalia’s ongoing journey towards peace, justice and rule of law. The Criminal Investigations Directorate will be important in this regard for building capacity and providing services to citizens,” observed Kieler.

A representative of the Somali Police Force also emphasized the significance of the Criminal Investigations Directorate office:

The CID office block that we are unveiling today is the backbone of the criminal justice system and crime prevention in Somalia.”

The Impact of Mogadishu's Prison Court Complex

In addition to the inauguration of Mogadishu's CID Headquarters, the inauguration of the Mogadishu Prison Court Complex (MPCC) in 2019, marked a significant milestone for justice and security in Somalia. Supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Maritime Crime Programme (UNODC GMCP) under the Joint Corrections Programme, the MPCC represents a concerted effort to alleviate the strain on Somalia's justice system caused by a surge in arrests and detentions due to intensified government operations against criminal organizations.

A government representative of the Somali Federal Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs, expressed how the new prison and court complex relieved overcrowding at the Mogadishu Central Prison, leading to a more humane and secure environment for inmates and staff, stating:

“This enhancement significantly boosted the efficiency and effectiveness of the correctional system in Mogadishu, contributing to notable improvements in rehabilitation and security measures for inmates. Moreover, the decrease in overcrowding at MCP directly facilitated the implementation of enhanced rehabilitation programs and the targeted allocation of resources to individual inmates, significantly improving their well-being and chances of successful reintegration into society.”

The integration of courts and prisons within the MPCC complex streamlines legal proceedings and enhances public safety by minimizing logistical challenges associated with transporting high-risk prisoners to court hearings. This centralized setup fosters better communication and coordination among law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judicial staff, expediting case resolution and ensuring timely access to legal proceedings for inmates.

Handover of the Court facility of the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex in 2024 ©UNOPS_Somalia/European Union
Handover of the Court facility of the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex in 2024 ©UNOPS_Somalia/European Union

The 2024 inauguration and handover of the court facility at the MPCC to the Somali Judiciary, underscores the international support for strengthening Somalia's justice system. With funding from Denmark, the EU Emergency Trust fund for Africa, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, this project illustrates a shared commitment to creating a more efficient and effective judicial system in Somalia.


Publication date
3 May 2024
Directorate-General for International Partnerships
Region and Country
  • Horn of Africa
  • Somalia
  • Improved governance and conflict prevention
  • The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Programmes in the region

The action aims to enhance the ability of women and children in the States of Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref to lead socially and economically productive lives, and in doing so strengthen their resilience and that of their communities.