Creating a Legal Framework for Terrorism Defectors and Detainees in Somalia

By:

Since the military offensive against Al-Shabaab by Af-rican Union and Somali forces in Somalia in 2011, many terrorists have defected or been detained. To encourage defections, the Somali President has issued multiple amnesty decrees to members of Al-Shabaab. However, Somalia faces the problem of how to manage these former terrorists within the context of a very weak legal system, grappling with twenty-five years of civil conflict. Through multiple interviews with people working in Somalia on the national program for rehabilitating and reintegrating former terrorists, this Note maps out the current legal framework for handling terrorists and evaluates its effectiveness. It concludes that, while the current programs in Somalia are a positive step and likely to be more effective than traditional counter-terrorism models, there is still a need to ensure adequate safeguards for disengaging terrorists. To improve the efficacy of the legal framework, this Note suggests a number of recommendations: the need to create a transparent classification system, codification of best practices into law, slowly shifting away from military tribunals to civilian courts, maintaining freedom of movement, focusing on women, and placing the program within a broader development framework.

55 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 228.