Copyright © 2006 -2013 All rights reserved

Prison Law


Article 27 (8) of the Somaliland Constitution:

 The purpose of prisons is reform and correction. The state is responsible for the rehabilitation and skills training of prisoners so that they can return to society with reformed characters.”

The main prisons law in Somaliland until January 1972 were the Somaliland Prisons Ordinance No. 11 of 1952. The Ordinance replaced the Prison Discipline Ordinance 1918 and followed very closely the Ugandan Prisons Ordinance 1944. It came into force in 1953 together with the Prisons Rules  the Somaliland Prisons Rules 1952 (No 453). The latter   were in use, with modifications,  until 1984 when they were replaced by new regulations.

The  Somaliland Prison Law, Law No. 94 of 1996 consisting of 74 Articles (in Somali) is based on the the 1971 Prison Law and was passed by the House of Representatives on 14 October 1996 and signed into Law by the President on 16 November 1996. The provisions of the law can be seen in the following tables:

The Prison Law 1971 (Law no. 7 of 30 December 1971) (in English) came into force on 15 January 1972 and was applied until the 1993 Law.

Regulations issued under Article 71 of the 1971 Prison Law were headed Regulations for the Country’s Prisons (Law no. 49 of 9 August 1984) . As confirmed by Article 96 of these Regulations, the Somaliland Prisons Rules (No 453), as modified by the 1971 Law, applied to Somaliland Prisons until 1984.   A  slightly modified version of the 1984 Regulations, as applied in Somaliland, is currently applied in Somaliland prisons. (Our apologies for the faint copy and the missing annexes which are the essentially same as the 1984 annexes).  The Regulations are practically the same as  the 1984 ones;  indeed Articles 2 – 69 are worded exactly the same as the similarly numbered articles in the 1984 Regulations. The minor changes are:

    • Article 1 (definitions) which inserts the relevant Somaliland institutions.
    • Art 70 covers the opposite numbered article and few lines of Art. 71.
    • Articles 71 to 74 of the 1984 Regulations have been deleted.
    • Articles 71 to 95 of the Somaliland version are the same as Article 75 to 91 of the 1986 Regulations.
    • Article 92 of the Somaliland version is essentially the same as Articles 96 and 97 of the 1984 Regulations.
    • Annexes B (prisoners’ food);  T (prisoners’ cloths and bedding) and X (punishment food) referred to in Articles 18(1) , 19(1) and 48 of both Regulations are the same, but are not attached to the Somaliland version posted above.

For the treatment of juvenile offenders, see the Somaliland Juvenile Justice Law - Law No. 36/2007 which repealed the 1971 Juvenile Courts and Reformatories Law - Law No. 13 of 18 March 1970.  A   young priosners’ wing was firts established at Mandhera prison in 1959.


Somaliland Corrections Corps:

The Structure of the Corrections Corps Law - Law No. 93/96 of 3 November 1996 (Sharciga Dhismaha Ciidanka Asluubta) set out the structure of the Somaliland Corrections Force .   This Law (numbered 83/96) was passed by the House of Representatives on 14 October 1996 and was signed into Law by the President on 3 November 1996. Article 1 of the Law states that the Corrections Corps are “temporarily” part of the armed forces, but that they come under the Ministry of Justice.  Article 9 states that for Personnel management matters, such as promotion, pay, discipline etc,  the relevant provisions in the Police Regulations shall apply.

The change in name from Prisons Forces to  “Corrections Force or Corps” (Ciidanka Asluubta)  was done before 1991 under Law No. 59 of 8 March 1975

The Somaliland Transfer of Prisoners Law – Law No. 53/2012 [Clearer Somali Copy ] and an [English translation] This is a generic law which applies to prisoner transfers to or from countries with which Somaliland has a prisoner transfer agreement (such as Sychelles in relation agreed cases involving prisoners convicted of acts of piracy offences).







08 September 2013: Minister of Justice briefs the House of Representatives about the new Somaliland Prisons Bill

Copy (in Somali) of the:

 Somaliland Prisons Bill (2013)


International Standards Relating to Detained persons:

 Article 10 International Covenant of Civil & Political Rights 1996:

1. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and  with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

2. (a) Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated  from convicted persons and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to  their status as unconvicted persons;

(b) Accused juvenile persons shall be separated from adults and brought as  speedily as possible for adjudication.

3. The penitentiary system shall comprise  treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and  social rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from adults and be  accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.

Other International treaty and non-treaty standards relating to prisoners (see below Key UN documents)



[Home] [Introduction to  Somaliland Law] [Somaliland Legal  - Views] [Articles &  Commentaries] [Somaliland  Constitution] [Constitutional  Developments] [Somaliland  Boundaries] [Recognition of  Somaliland] [Somaliland &  International Law] [Administrative Law] [Banking & Finance  Laws] [Business  Law Overview] [Somaliland Citizenship Law] [Civil Law] [Civil Procedure  Law] [Commercial Law] [Communications Laws] [Somaliland Customary Law] [Somaliland Company  Law] [Criminal Law] [Criminal Procedure  Law] [Environmental Laws] [Electoral Laws] [Foreign Investment  Law] [Family &  Personal Law] [Somaliland  Government] [Health Law] [Somaliland Human Rights Law] [Insurance Law] [Somaliland Intellectual  Property Law] [Somaliland Judicial  System] [Labour/ Employment Law] [Land & Planning  Law] [Hargeisa Law  Faculty] [Somaliland Legal  Profession] [Somaliland Lawyers] [Somaliland Livestock  Laws] [Local Government  Law] [Maritime Law] [Military Law] [Somaliland  Mining Laws] [Somaliland NGOs Law] [Press &  Media  Law] [Prison Law] [Police Law] [Somaliland Public  Finance Law] [Somaliland Public  Safety Laws] [Somaliland  Parliament] [Somaliland Security  Committees] [Sharia   A Source of Law] [Roads & Traffic  Law] [Miscellaneous Laws] [Somali Republic  60-89 Laws] [Comparative Somali  Laws] [Somaliland Protectorate  Laws] [Somaliland Utilities Laws]