Last week, the U.S. government recognized a government of Somalia for the first time since 1991. In his remarks to Secretary of State Clinton, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud spoke of Somalia emerging from a period of chaos to one of peace. This new Somalia, he said, will make a “valuable contribution to the region and the world at large.” If Somalia is to be a shining example, it should start by ending impunity for war criminals and giving victims justice.

Somalia’s transition must reckon with its past. The Somali state’s collapse in 1991 did not emerge from a vacuum: it was precipitated by years of brutal violence under the Mohamed Siad Barre dictatorship. Under Barre’s 21-year regime, government forces tortured, summarily executed, raped, and even launched aerial bombing raids on civilian populations. The armed groups that overthrew Barre in 1991, and the remnants of that regime, continued the cycle of violence.

To date, no individual has been held to account for these crimes–in Somalia. However, accountability efforts have been made against former Barre-regime officials living in the U.S. The Center for Justice and Accountability has brought three cases in U.S. courts on behalf of Somali victims. Last November, a U.S. federal court of appeals denied immunity to Mohamed Ali Samantar, former Somali Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, for crimes against humanity and torture. That same month, a district court in Ohio ruled that Colonel Abdi Aden Magan, the former Chief of Somalia’s National Security Service was liable for torture. Another torture suit is pending against Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali (a.k.a “Tukeh”), a former Brigade Commander in the Somali National Army.”) Each of these cases was filed under U.S. universal jurisdiction laws that permit civil suits for human rights violations.

President Sheikh has made a commitment to restore faith in governance and the rule of law. His first step should be to hold to account former officials and warlords who brought Somalia over the brink. His second is to end impunity for human rights abuses committed in the wake of Somalia’s collapse. To date, cases of gender based violence, child soldier recruitment, and attacks against journalist have gone unpunished.
Lessons can be learned from the cases in the U.S., but President Sheikh can look closer to home as well. Local activists and government officials in the northern region of Somaliland have begun toexcavate mass graves and document evidence of war crimes. The Somali government should build on these efforts and end the impunity of suspected war criminals like General Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan or Maslah Mohamed Siad Barre. Both have been accused of overseeing widespread and systematic abuses under Siad Barre. And both currently split their time between Somalia and Kenya.

It will be difficult to restore confidence in government with such perpetrators still at large. After victory in his case against Samantar, Aziz Deria, whose father and brother were abducted by Somali officials and never seen again, observed that holding former officials “formally accountable for atrocities in Somalia’s civil war is the best way for Somalia to move forward. Clan retribution can be set aside when people can be assured of justice through the legal system.”

The words of President Sheik speak of stability and hope. But to achieve these goals, Somalia must begin transparent human rights investigations and provide redress to victims.



  1. Decent article, I am for it, but it would be extremely difficult to address and implement these measures and could possibly lead to further bloodshed.

    I would rather wait, till the government in Mog is strong enough.


  2. I like the article, no one can deny that atrocities were committed during the civil war both in the South and the North, but i think the best way to go would be to forgive each other just like Tutsis had forgiven the Hutus in Rwanda. Morgan and the other generals are war criminals and it will be very difficult to bring them to justice as there are no good evidence or may be they will find save haven at their clan enclaves. This president's plate is full now and he stated in Minneapolis that his priority is reconciliation and not confrontation.

  3. I wish this government the best, we in Somaliland are not your enemy and I think we both know who the real enemy is. Hopefully, we can move on as two brotherly or sisterly states whatever.

    We in Somaliland do appreciate this new president he hasnt been demeaning to our suffering in Somaliland and he basically said Somaliland is free to make its own choices.

    Well done sir and best of luck from your brothers and sisters in Somaliland this going after war criminals is a good thing and in Somaliland we are already using DNA to identify the lost souls in those graves.

    It was saddening when someone informed me that the same cl an who was doing the clan was claiming the people in the graves, just wait till the DNA comes out, smdh do they not know this stuff can be traced? Someone needs to show them an episode of CSI.

  4. Forgive who? the president is he xaaraan kunaax? I was so disgusted when i listened his Minneapolis speech. We can forgive and forget our people died in the hands of the civil war and the previous military rulers,,Allah ya raxma, but,,what about our houses and other properties? is he expecting us to forgive as-well? I don't understand>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • Every Daarood says he or she owned 10 houses in Mogadishu!
      As we all know most Daaroods sold their houses in the last 20 years only few still have the ownership papers the rest are bunch of liers.
      If you own a house come to Mogadishu and show your ownership to the local government or otherwise shut the hell up.

    • Nothing to worry about. the government has release the notice today to all looters that currently occupying people's property to leave or face prosecution with restoration.If they don't leave timely fashion.So that should solve the problem the period.

      • Hassan Mahamoud is a President who was SELECTED via the ROAD-Map process and with the ROAD-Map constitution as such he must respect the same system that gave him a victory with only 190votes.

        Hassan Mahamoud is not a Man like Sharif and he is not interested in UNITING people. This man laughs like a hyena because he is always hiding his devious intention.

        What is going to happen during Hassan term in office of 4years:

        1. Primary offensive is attack the Road-Map constitution:

        -1960 Constitution recognizes the union of 2-STATES so ignore that one.
        – 2012 Road-Map constitution recognizes Federal-governments so ignore that too.
        – 1979 Military-dictatorship constitution of 1-state, 1-political part and full military force is PERFECT.

        If Siyad Barre Held of to Power for 21years without question or challenge then ABGAAL also want minimum of 21years of Presidential TERMS with the PEOPLE's Blessing…

        2. Delay, Derail and Disturb the 2-STATE dialogue process that has already been agreed in plain sight of international observers. Attempting to Spin the USA Road-Map government recognition into the legitimacy required to form a NEW dictatorship with Equal Territory of Siyad Barre reign over Somali-Republic. Settling for the Road-Map territory of [puntland, galmudug,aswj and central and south central[ aka Somali-Italia-federation is not sufficient.

        3. I guess he wakes up in a Nigeria Toilet like the one before him… why expect me to know 🙂

          • Sahra you know i like entertaining you people…

            Darood will never see a single property returned to them in Muuqdishu and the reason is Darood stole government funds to buy those properties in the first place.

            Personally i support Darood in demanding those properties back because it does not belong to some Abgaal Nomad. In the 1970 Abgaal were a Minority inside Muuqdishu Today they are the Majority.

            The perfect solution would only come if Abgaal are all evicted from Muuqdishu because the city is property of Banu-Dir = BanaaDIR and Xamar cadcad. Those properties that were left behind by non-Somalis do not belong to any somali so should be made government properties.

            🙂 Back to reality Hassan Mahamoud is not going to waste 1-minute on resolving disputes he infact is going to be making a 1000disputes of his own to enrich the ABgaal and his immediate friends.

            Darood will be going to Abgaal for bread crumbs and handouts…

            Akhwaan Libaan, Akhwaan Libaan yaa ibnu Samaale yaa amiirul Somaals

            🙂 you will be lucky to see a slice of bread and you talking about properties you do not have any documents for? No chance.

          • BIXIRI.
            Hold on your fake imaginary horses mate. i thought you use to support Hassan culusow or maybe you were on medication. what is this all over sudden U TURN because Hassan culusow not supporting fake s/land project face the reality don't shy from like a virgin chick mate. the stolen properties in mogadishu not only darood is seeking but all somalis who lost their properties in mogadishu.

            Hassan culusow he was elected federal system he can't change if he does he will be out his office in no time. those days are over when everthing use be centralized, today somalia is different, semi-autonomous state will run their own show that is for sure. Darood they have own states, they will never go under anyone born rulers.

            See your doctor and ask strong medication because it looks the medication your on not effective.

          • buuxiye
            Hate to go your level but will do it .First before the regime go see the city map or all the official document that would clearly illustrated to you who resides the city and the make up of It.
            Second we as family have home and land and property we have our papers and there are many who already went back and saw their assets some sold some are renovating.
            Third the city had large community that if you ever live there you would know it. call the dadka cad cad they also have to get land and property. If that does not take place nothing is going work no amount of recognition would be enough that.s why he already took steps that need to move this nation forward and the U.S.A already discussed matter with him on top of that there are cases pending in the Hague brought by reer xamarka cadcad . So this case is complicated than simple terms you put in OK.

  5. Very palatable ideas and let not time is given :

    1. Establish International War Crime Tribunal for Somalia ( (IWCTS) that tries any one insider/outsider who took part in killing, torturing raping, looting etc of innocent Somali people, then we will appear with our files to held the criminals accountable for their acts.

  6. This task for the government is gonna be like sitting between a rock and a hard place.

    On one hand if they seek justice for those killed then Somalia could literally go back to civil war because almost all the sub sub sub clans of the major clans have blood on their hands small or big it is still blood.

    While on the other if they forgive (which i think is the best option do remember there is a difference between forgiving and forgetting) all of those that died their family's will not be happy because of not getting justice for them.

  7. It's disgusting to heard what Mr.Dahir said above, but it is not strange from the people [Majority] of Somalia to compare what has happened in Somaliland with few incidents that happen here and there in Somalia. How come you say that? What happen to our people was massacre in big proportion, just next what happen in Rwanda, and you say "no one can deny that atrocities were committed during the civil was both in the South and Somaliland".

    Your skin and body part of yours will speak against you in the day of judgement, and that is 100% sure. No one will protect you that day to come, and we the people of Somaliland will not forget what happen to our people so easily. We will track down those criminals wherever we will find them. It's only matter of time. Rest assured we will do it.

    • Omer,


      Somaliland people are good people who seek justice for crimes committed against them but unfortunately we are led by politicians who do not speak of this issue and care little for it. The only solution to this, as i have said before, is for the government through CID to set up an elite unit to track and apprehend/assassinate known war criminals that are currently walking around in both Mogudishu and in Kenya. This is the only way to get justice and retribution for our people.

  8. i believe that for somaliland to choose unity with somalia, their has to be a extensive list of our grievances that needs to be met like getting justice for the genocide as well as how we can get our fair share of the economic and political among other pies both clan wise as well as region wise in a new union. however i believe somalia is not capable nor willing to meet this hence why somaliland is better off on its own and dont think we have no choice since our courageous people will fight to the death to achieve their objectives

  9. Yes finally something we can all agree on, and if we choose to go down this path just now it will difficult and could lead more bloodshed. Because as state above by others a lot sub-clans have blood on their hands and won't easily give up their kinsmen. Wallahi, maybe the best option is to forgive but never forget, never forget the brutality of a dictator and the chaos of clan war.

    These are the type of article that get people talking and thinking with out bias.

  10. Who cares about what seccecionists think. Dahiir riyaale used to torture alot of Somalis, because he was ordered by siad barre, yet these scum welcome and kiss his feeet.

    The somali president shouldnt apologise or arrest anyone. Let these filth cry and cry forever. Somalia's government wont be playing games with hypocrite dogs.

    • the solution for somalis is the darood trash like u be swpt into the sea
      somaliland is gone for good muhahaha

      • Kaboon, Abdiwahab, be fair guys. If you want all war criminals to be brought to court then it includes many Is@@q present leaders too.

        • Somaliland-Republic has international Forensic science teams on the ground who have already documented 200-Mass graves. Women, children, old and young all with their hands tied behind their backs and buried in mass graves.

          Now our country will present this information where ever and when ever there is a need to educate the international community and all future generations in all Somaliland-Republic schools. I would recommend teaching students from the age of 9 however introducing the subject in fractions with 18year old being exposed to the full horror of the 1980ies. 1960-1991-History and events.

          Personally i do not care if certain people wish to forget as far as i am concerned my people's painful history will always be taught in schools.

          Dying faced down in a Nigerian toilet is not justice enough.

  11. @Abdiwahab

    somalia is a clan based society You touch one person you just touched the whole f**k clan.

    The only way to handle the situation is sleep with your enemy.

    My wife is Isaaq with three kids and I got this orphaned abgaal girl waiting for me in mogadishu.

    My anger is gone Now.

    • PuntlandGeez, walaal this is our primitive and bad attitude that makes us to ignore fact, unless we face realities and held criminals accountable for their act, we shall never move an inch to establish a new Somalia. The future criminal can only refrain themselves from acts against humanity if we hardly punish the present one who are protected by what you call clan insurance-Gosh we are in the twenty first century how do you expect we attract people of different cultures and background to invest, visit , help us etc to our country if we are giving save heaven to criminals who butchered innocent Somalis. How are we going to prevent atrocities from happening to our future generations? Don't you thinks that this an indication that are we creature that need to be themed to interact with the global world economically, politically and socially?

      Bring them to justice, let them get their punishment!!!!

      • I totally understand what you're saying that the perpetrators must be caught and swiftly brought to justice but the problem is where do we start from?

        The Issaq want General Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan to be hanged but Darood see him as a savior.

        Siilaanyo is wanted by Darood for the ethnic cleansing he caused against the large population of Duulbaahaante and Warsangeli but Siilaanyo is respected, loved and adored by all Isaaqs.

        The president Galmudug Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid is wanted by Darood

        Maxamed Faarax Xasan Caydiid is wanted by Darood and Rahanweyn

        Abdullahi Yusuf is wanted by Hawiya

        Mohamed siad barre is wanted by Isaaq

        Maslah Mohamed Siad Barre is wanted by Isaaq

        every clan have blood on their hands so we must find ways to reconcile rather than going backwards to that of 1991.

        • I would say bring them all to court, from Silanyo to Morgan etc. And for those who still believe in ''qabyaalad'', F''CK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Unless you are that stupid, why compare Silanyo with butcher of Hargeisa, Morgan who is well-known to have committed thousand after thousand of crimes against Humanity.Morgan days are numbered whether on this earth or there after. No question, he is a devil who can run but can't hide.

        • Galmudug president wanted by Daroods huh then how comes hes allowed to set foot in Puntland controlled Galkayo also there are names of people you mentioned that are dead

          But i agree with what you're saying

          • @Irir Samaale

            Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid caused the death of Darood civilians in mogadishu and the looting of their properties a guilt Qaybdid admitted when he was part of the USC along with Caydiid.

            Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid has never actually entered Puntland, he can only go as far as southern Galkayo which is a hawiya village thats all.

    • So long that you are part of the problems in a big way and not part of the solutions ..who cares
      what your kinds stands for???

  12. What the article is talking about is positive but Somalia is still a war zone and the new Somalia
    Govt spearheaded by HSM is in fact so weak and deep upto the shoulders between warfares
    and all the associated intercommunal intrigues??? very complicated even handed tread to deal with ??? Added to the Somalia slouch is the Somaliland quest??? OUCH OUCH oh dear Allah
    the almighty God, what a mess your mother nature custodians are in deep trouble of their own
    making, but then you are the supreme command divine powers to control between the righteous
    and evil. OH dear old supreme almighty God we foreseek your forgiveness and candidly takeover
    our problems in which we failed to resolve bringing your justices between all mankind.
    Salaam, Peace, Shalom..amen.

  13. It can be done, why not the Western world are still chasing and sometimes come across the perpetrators of the Second World War!. and that is more than 60 years ago . I strongly believe that the victims deserves justice! the only way to get that is find these perpetrators and put them into fair trial., then Somali community can reconcile again.

  14. the article is beautiful …until you look at the comments lool. Insha'Allah when Somalia back on its feet then we can bring criminals to justice now there's not even a single unbiased Court in Somalia plus majority of Somalis have participated in the Civil War . I personally believe that the president's top priority is to restore peace.

    • "Majority of Somalis participated in the civil war" this a blanket escape got for the criminals. We are talking about the drivers pricipal actors of the crimes like Silaanyo, Morgan, Husein Aydid, Ina godane, Muuse Biihi etc who brought the somali people neck to neck to neck to kill each other.
      Still we can classify them
      1. The uniformed criminals such like military generals and the like who used the weapon of nation to kill and destroy its people.
      2. So called rebel leaders who massacred people who did not supported their evil agendas.
      3. War lord (again the second group can come to this categories) who killed innocent civilian, displaced them occupied/occupying their land.
      I am sure if the gather clan elders across Somalia and ask their opinion to punish the criminal I am sure, they will approve it.
      No excuse man!!

  15. Nobody cars about the criminals. We all know what they are. We just want them to mind their own business. They dont even control Mugadisho without foreigners to help them and they are talking about Somaliland. It sounds really funny. Anyways Somalilanders dont wast your time on issues like this. Period.

  16. All those who committed genocidal crimes against Somali people including Al-shabaab and their foreign terrorists must one day face justice. God willing, that day will come soon.

  17. No it shouldn't be Mr author, you're jumping over so many points and simply you are just asking for the impossible.
    The priority now is to make the somali citizen stand up on his feet, provide the simple and basic services for the poor, sick and the new generation. Once somalia is a strong country with all means, we can talk about this.
    Listen, there was no, at any point of history, where the justice you talking about took place after a long civil war like ours. Everyone got some grudge towards everyone else and simply, it is just impossible to make everyone satisfied.
    The real selution is to forgive and Allah will reward those who have lost their families in the process.
    We need to think bigger than just our personal revenge, we need to be better than the previous generation and make our children proud of us;

  18. TO ALL …………………………….

    Forget about war criminals it will not happen soon because somalia don't have good legal system, and HAGUE they don't know where to start since most leadership in somalia whether ex-millitary regime,rebel leaders, warlords, religiuos rebel leaders have blood and mud in their hands. first, must stablish strong federal system goverment then criminal cases can proceed. as i am aware of there are more than sixty persons under investigation ex-millitary men, warlords, all rebel leaders high level and medium level, ex- millitary regime officials, religious rebel leaders high level and medium level. once these cases open it will take six to nine years to close.

  19. somali land never ever recognised, because it's a part of somalia. it should be like that and of course stay like totally, regarless what siilanyo crying for! infact,most somali educators think that somali land is the bigest problem in somalia today. we are thinkers and doers of today and somali land is the way behand that tool. we want one nation, single passport. single currency, one flag, and of course one love period! i'm from beutiful state of punland and i believe that somali land is lost the values of their life period! no one recognised somali land up to know because segregation and wanna be idea from siilanyo.can you believe that somali land is deeply illiterate nation and low level life.