Part One

Article 107: The Judicial Commission[194]
  • 1. The Judicial Commission is the body which directs the administration of the Judiciary[195], and shall consist of the following:
    • The Chairman of the Supreme Court - Chairman
    • The two Supreme Court judges who rank highest in seniority - Member
    • The Attorney General - Member
    • The Director General of the Ministry of Justice - Member
    • The Chairman of the Civil Service Agency - Member
    • Two members selected from the public once every two years by the House of Representatives, one of whom to be chosen from among the intellectuals and the other from the businessmen, and
    • two members to be selected from the public once every two years by the House of Elders, one of whom to be chosen from among those who are well versed in the traditions and the other from the religious scholars.
  • 2. The quorum for the meetings of the Commission is (7) members.
  • 3. If the Chairman of the Supreme Court is unable to fulfil the duties of chairing the Commission because of reasons of health, holidays or on vacating his office, the member of the Commission who is the Supreme Court judge with the highest rank in seniority, shall act as the temporary chairman. The Secretary of the Judicial Commission shall be the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court.
Article 108: the Functions of the Judicial Commission
  • 1. The Judicial Commission shall be responsible for the appointment, removal of office, promotion, demotion, transfer and discipline of the judges of the lower courts (the Appeal, Regional and District Courts), and the Deputy Attorney Generals. The other personnel who work in the judiciary shall come under the provisions of the Civil Service Law.
  • 2. No judge or Deputy Attorney General may be detained without the consent of the Judicial Commission, but such consent shall not be required if the judge or the Deputy Attorney General is caught in flagrant delicto in relation to an offence which carries a sentence of no less than three (3) years imprisonment.
  • 3. The Attorney General shall submit[196] to the Commission the charges for the removal of the privileges and the disciplining of judges and Deputies of the Attorney General.

Part Two

Article 109: The Structure of the Country
  • 1. The territory of the Republic of Somaliland shall consist of regions, and each region shall be divided into districts.
  • 2. The structure of the regions and the districts, their boundaries and hierarchy shall be determined by law[197].
  • 3. Changes in the number of regions and districts and their boundaries and the reasons for the changes shall be proposed by the Council of Government (Cabinet) and approved by the House of Representatives and the House of Elders.
Article 110: The Administration of the Regions and the Districts
  • 1. The administration of the regions and the districts is part of the administration of the Government of the Republic of Somaliland.
  • 2. The relationship of the central government and the regions and districts shall be set out in a special law[198].
Article 111: The Regional and District Councils
  • 1. The regions[199] and the districts of the country shall have legislative councils, whose powers are limited to passing by-laws which do not conflict with the laws of the country, and executive councils.
  • 2. The total membership of each regional or district council, the conditions of membership[200] and their election procedures[201] shall be determined by law.
  • 3. The Chairman of the district, shall, in consultation with the prominent members of village communities, propose village administration committees[202] whose appointments shall be subject to the approval of the legislative council of the district.
  • 4. The regional and district councilsshall have power to plan their economic and social affairs.
  • 5. The Chairman of the region shall be appointed by the Government and shall act as the representative of the central government in the region and the districts that come under it.
  • 6. The Chairman of the region is the link between the central government and the districts of the region and shall come under the Ministry of Interior.
  • 7. The term of office of the regional[203] and district councils shall be 5 (five) years.
  • 8. a) A regional or district council may be dissolved before the end of its term of office.
    b) The conditions which could lead to such dissolution and the procedures for dissolution shall be determined by law[204].
  • 9. The secretary of the region or the district and the heads of the branches or sections of the Ministries shall continue to fulfil the council’s responsibilities[205] in line with the existing laws (and by-laws) until the election of a new council.
  • 10. The regional and district councils shall have their own proper regulations, and shall be assisted in this task by the Ministry of Interior.
Article 112: The De-centralisation of Administrative Powers
  • 1. The administration of community[206] services, such health, education up to elementary/intermediate school level, livestock husbandry, internal security, water, electricity, communication etc. shall be the responsibility of the regions and districts in so far as they are able to do so.
  • 2. The demarcation of the administrative and tax levying powers between the central government and the regions/districts shall be determined by the law setting out the relationship between the central government and the regions/districts.
  • 3. The demarcation referred to in Clause 2 of this Article must be such as to make it possible for the regions and districts to become self-sufficient in their provision of community services.

Part Three: The Organs of State

Article 113: The Special Organs of the state

The national organs of state are:

  • 1. The Procuracy.
  • 2. The Central Bank
  • 3. The Civil Service Agency
  • 4. The Auditor General

Other organs may be created, if deemed necessary, in accordance with the law.

Article 114: The Appointment of and Removal from Office of Heads of the Organs of the State
  • 1. The appointment of the Attorney General, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Chairman and the members of the Civil Service Agency and the Auditor General shall be proposed by the Chairman of the Council of Government (Cabinet)[207] and shall be approved by the House of Representatives before the appointee is sworn into office.
  • 2. The Heads listed in this Article may be removed from office by the President only.
  • 3. The office holders of the state whose appointments are, according to the Constitution, subject to confirmation shall not hold office in a temporary capacity for more than three months (whilst awaiting confirmation).[208]
Article 115: The Ulema[209] Council and their Responsibilities

The Ulema Council is independent and shall have the responsibility of :

  • 1. Formulating formal declarations on:
    • a) religious disagreements that may arise; and
    • b) any matters in which there is a conflict as to whether they are contrary to the Sharia[210], or appear to the Council as being contrary to the Sharia.
    The Council shall forward their declarations to the offices which have requested the declarations or to the Constitutional Court, as they deem fit.
  • 2. Undertaking research of all kinds from a religious perspective and, particularly, in a way which advances scientific and religious knowledge. (Also, they shall) review, and validate translated religious Sharia works, and specially those (prior to their acceptance legally) which the courts rely on in their rulings and those which are included in the educational syllabus and relate to religious traditions and knowledge.
Article 116: The Total Membership of the Council and Term of Office
  • The membership of the Ulema Council shall consist of 11 (eleven) members who shall serve for a 5 year term of office. Any suitable member may be re-appointed.
Article 117: The Conditions of Membership

Each member of the Ulema Council must fulfil the following conditions:

  • 1. He shall be a citizen and is mentally and physically able to fulfil his duties.
  • 2. He shall not be aged less than 40 (forty) years.
  • 3. He shall be someone who is known for his piety (allegiance to Allah) and good manners.
  • 4. He shall not have been convicted of a criminal offence that was proven in a court during the preceding five years.
  • 5. He shall have been educated in religious matters to a university level or equivalent.
  • 6. On the assumption of his duties, a member shall observe neutrality in political matters and in religious views.
Article 118: Matters in which Members are not Allowed

The members of the Ulema Council shall not be:

  • 1. associated with a political party or a special religious group;
  • 2. hold any other national office whilst still carrying the responsibilities of the Council.
Article 119: The Appointment of the Members of the Ulema Council
  • 1. The members of the Ulema Council shall be nominated by a committee consisting of an equal number of persons chosen respectively by the Council of Government (Cabinet) and the House of Elders, and the nominations shall be confirmed by the House of Elders[211].
  • 2. The Ulema Council shall elect from among its members a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman.
Article 120: Vacancies in the Membership of the Ulema Council

The membership of the Ulema Council may become vacant:

  • 1. on resignation by a member or death;
  • 2. on one of the conditions[212] of membership being no longer valid;.(and)
  • 3. on a member being subject to a final sentence for a criminal offence.
Article 121: Salaries and Remuneration
  • The salaries and remuneration of the members of the Ulema Council shall be determined by law.
Article 122: The Law of the Organs of State
  • Each special organ of state shall have a law setting out its structure, responsibilities and the status of its head.

Part Four

Article 123: The Principles of the National Armed Forces
  • 1. The national Armed Forces shall be responsible for protecting and defending the independence of the country. In addition, they shall, when needed, undertake duties in periods of state of emergency, in accordance with the Constitution.
  • 2. The national armed forces shall always obey and act in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the country.
  • 3. The structure (and composition) of the national armed forces shall reflect all the various Somaliland communities[213].
  • 4. The person who is appointed as Minister of Defence shall be a civilian citizen.
  • 5. The command structure of the national Armed Forces shall be determined by law.
Article 124: The Police and the Corrections Forces
  • 1. The Police Force shall be responsible for protecting the peace and for enforcing the law, and its structure and duties shall be set out by law.
  • 2. The Corrections Force shall be responsible for guarding and reforming prisoners and its structure and duties shall be set out by law.
Article 125: The Preparation of the Referendum Law and the Appointment of the Referendum Committee
  • Whilst taking note of the provisions of the Constitution, a referendum law[214] shall be issued so as to make possible the holding of the referendum. A Committee to organise the referendum shall be appointed in accordance with the Constitution.
Article 126: Amendments or Corrections of the Constitution
  • 1. Proposals for the amendments and/or corrections of the Constitution shall be made by:
    • a) The President, after consulting the Council of Government (Cabinet).
    • b) 1/3 (one-third) of the total membership of the House of Representatives.
    • c) 1/3 (one-third) of the total membership of the House of Elders.
  • 2. Any proposal to amend and/or correct the Constitution must be reasoned and signed.
  • 3. Amendments and/or corrections of the Constitution shall be debated by the House of Representatives and the House of Elders two months after the House of Representatives resolves by a majority of their total number that the amendments and/or the corrections are necessary.
  • 4. Any amendment and/or correction of an Article or Articles of the Constitution shall come into force after its approval by 2/3 (two-thirds) of the total membership of the House of Representatives and by 2/3 (two-thirds) of the total membership of the House of Elders in separate votes.
  • 5. If the House of Representatives does not resolve by a majority of its total membership that the amendment or the addition or both is necessary; or if one of the two Houses does not approve of the amendment and/or correction by a 2/3 (two-thirds) majority of its total membership, the proposal shall not be re-introduced during the following 12 (twelve) months.
Article 127: The Limits of Amendments or Corrections of the Constitution

No proposal to amend or correct the Constitution shall be made if it includes a provision which is in conflict with the:

  • a) Principles of Islamic Sharia.
  • b) Unity of the country(territorial integrity).
  • c) Democratic principles and the multi-party system.
  • d) Fundamental rights and individual freedoms.
Article 128: The Basis and the Supremacy of the Constitution
  • 1. The Constitution shall be based on Islamic principles.
  • 2. The Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land, and any law which does not conform to it shall be null and void.
Article 129: The Constitutional Oath

The Chairman of the Supreme Court, who is, at the same time, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, shall administer this constitutional oath to any person who is obliged to take an oath under the Constitution before that person can assume his office. In the same way, he shall also take an oath to be administered by the President.


Article 130: The Implementation of the Constitution
  • 1. This Constitution shall come into force when a referendum[215] has been held and the outcome of the referendum is known. It shall, however, be implemented, in the interim, for a period of three years[216] (3) beginning from the date when it is approved by the 3rd Conference of the Somaliland Communities.
  • 2. If the referendum can not be held within the set period, the interim period in which the Constitution is implemented may be increased by the Parliament[217] (the Representatives and the Elders).
  • 3. In the event of one of the circumstances listed in Article 50[218] happening to a member of the House of Elders or the House of Representatives, the community which he represented shall fill that vacancy until such time the system of elections through parties is adopted.
  • 4. In the event of the circumstances listed in Article 86 happening to the President or the Vice-President or both until such time a party system with direct elections is adopted[219], the two Houses (Representatives and Elders) shall elect jointly, within 45 days, the President or the Vice-President or both. The Speaker of the House of Elders shall fill the vacant office during the period preceding such election.
  • 5. All the laws which were current and which did not conflict with the Islamic Sharia, individual rights and fundamental freedoms shall remain in force in the country of the Republic of Somaliland until the promulgation of laws which are in accord with the Constitution of theRepublic of Somaliland.[220] At the same time, laws which conform to the Constitution shall be prepared, and each such law shall be presented within minimum time scales set by the House.
  • 6. If the regions and districts fail to set up their councils within 3 (three) months, the Government, in consultation with the relevant members of the Houses of Representatives and Elders who represent these regions or districts and also with the elders in these communities, shall appoint, on a temporary basis, regional and district administrators.

The names of the Constitution Preparation Committee:

This is the Committee which prepared the Constitution at the 1997 Hargeisa Conference
(Note: All the spellings of the names are in Somali Script)

  • 1. Sh. Cabdilaahi Sh. Call Jawhar - Chairman
  • 2. Maxamed Axmed Cabdulle - Deputy Chairman
  • 3. Clqaadir X. lsmaaciil Jirde - Secretary
  • 4. Sh. Maxamuud Suufi Muxumed
  • 5. Maxamed Siclid Maxamed (Gees)
  • 6. Sh. Call Sh. Cabdi Guuleed
  • 7. Faysal Xaajl Jaamac (Counsel)
  • 8. Cismaan Xusseen Khayre (Judge)
  • 9. Prof. Faarax Cabdllaahi Farlid
  • 10. Prof. Maxamuud Nuur Caalin
  • 11. Xasan Cabdi Xabad
  • 12. Axmed Macaim Jaamac
  • 13. Yuusuf Aadan Xuseen
  • 14. CismaanCali Blue
  • 15. Maxamed Jaamac Faarax

The Constitution Revision Committee

The House of Elders:
(Mud is short for Mudane “the honorable” – a title used by members of Parliament)

  • 1) Mud. Sicid Jaamac Cali - Chairman
  • 2) Mud. Axmed Nuur Aw Cali - Secretary
  • 3) Mud. ClLaahi Sh. Xasan
  • 4) Mud. Siclid ClLaahi Yaasir
  • 5) Mud. Call X. Cabdi Ducaale
  • 6) Mud. Clraxmaan Axmed Areye
  • 7) Mud. Maxamed Clise Faarax
  • 8) Mud. Yuusuf C/Laahi Cawaale
  • 9) Mud. Muxumed Aw Axmed
  • 10) Mud. Maxamed Gaaxnuug Jaamac
  • 11) Mud. Maxamed Cismaan Guuleed

The House of Representatives

  • 1) Mud. Xasan Axmed Ducaale, Chairman
  • 2) Mud.Cali Maxamed Cumar, Secretary
  • 3) Mud. C/raxmaan Xuseen Cabdi
  • 4) Mud. Maxamed Xuseen Dhamac
  • 5) Mud. Cabdi Daahir Camuud
  • 6) Mud. C/Laahi lbraahim Kaarshe
  • 7) Mud. Axmed C/Laahi Cal
  • 8) Mud. Faysal X. Jaamac
  • 9) Mud. Maxamed Aadan Gabaloos
  • 10) Mud. Cumar NuurAare
  • 11) Mud. Yaasiin Faarax Ismaaciil
  • 12) Mud, Yaasiin Maxamuud Xiir
  • 13) Mud. Cali Obsiiye Diiriye

The Committee for Corrections, Authentication and Production of Copies of the Constitution who also appended their signatures:

  • 1) Mud. Axmed Maxamed Aadan, Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • 2) Mud Axmed Nuur Aw Cali, Secretary of the House of Elders
  • 3) Mud C/ILaahi Sh. Xasan, member of the House of Elders
  • 4) Maxamed Xuseen Cismaan, Secretary of the House of Representative.


Sh. Ibraahim Sh. Yuusuf Sh. Madar, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Axmed Maxamed Aadan, Speaker of the House of Representatives

The Secretariat of the Constitution Committee:

  • 1) Faisa Maxamed Axmed
  • 2) C/risaaq Siciid Ayaanle

[194] It is not clear why these two Articles 107 and 108 are not in the preceding Part relating to the Judicial Branch.

[195] Articles 31 to 43 of the 2004 Law deals in more detail with the powers and functions of the Commission which are said to be “to direct the administration of the judiciary”. The Quorum of the Commission is seven and their decisions can be reached can be reached on a majority vote. The Commission shall provide an Annual Report of their work to both Houses of Parliament and to the Cabinet.

[196] He will not have a vote when he makes these submissions (Article 32(1) – Organisation of the Judiciary Law 2004).

[197] The relevant law is the Regions and Districts Law (Law No: 23 of 2003), under Article 555 of the Law, the country is divided into six regions and each region shall consist of districts graded A, B, C or D.

[198]Other than the Regions & Districts Law which does include provisions relating to the respective roles of central and local government and gives power to the Internal Affairs Minister to issue Regulations (under its Article 54), no such special law has been passed yet.

[199] The Regions have non-elected councils chaired by the Government appointed Regional Governor (see Article 111(5) of the Constitution) and have an Executive Committee and a Development Council, but not a Legislative Council (see Articles 12 –14 of the Regions and Districts Law). In the Law on the Structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Administration of the Regions and Districts 1993 which was largely replaced by the Regions and Districts Law, the Regional Council was called the Legislative Council.

[200] For districts, see Articles 5, 6 and 25 of the Regions and District Law; and for regions, Article 12 of the same Law.

[201] The procedures for elections of members of District Councils are set out in the Presidential and Local Council Elections Law (Law No: 20 of 2001). Regional Councils are not elected

[202] The maximum number of members of each such Council shall be 7 – Article 33 of the Regions and Districts Law.

[203] This constitutional term of five years for Regional Councils does not appear to be addressed in the Regions and Districts Law and might be covered in the forthcoming Regulations under 54 of that Law. In reality, the term limit does not effect the composition of the Regional Council whose membership is defined by the posts held, rather than the postholders – i.e the Chairman and Deputy and the Executive Secretary, all appointed or dismissed by central government, at any time, and the Mayors of the Districts who are elected or dismissed by the District Council members, at any time (s.12 of the Regions and Districts Law). As Clause 2 of this Article mentions the “election procedures” of Regional, as well as District Councils, this Clause is more suited to elect Regional Councils.

[204] For District Councils, this is set out in Article 38 of the Regions and Districts Law and is triggered by failure to meet, without good reason for two consecutive ordinary sessions or by the passing of a dissolution resolution of the Council under qualified majority. As for Regional Councils, the Chairman may be dismissed by the President, but the is no dissolution procedure for them as the Council members (other than the Mayors of the districts in the region) are not elected (see Article 12 of the Regions and Districts Law).

[205] This clause relates to situations where the local council has been dissolved.

[206] I have chosen the word “community services” rather than “social services” to denote the wider local services which the regions and districts could undertake.

[207] In effect, the President – see Articles 81 and 94(7).

[208] This is a new Clause which was not in the 1979 Constitution. It puts a limit on the period presidential appointees can hold office pending the confirmation of their appointments. There were allegations that a number of former President Egal’s appointments (including the Supreme Court Chairman) held office without confirmation for long periods without approval by the House of Representatives and this Clause was brought in to remedy that problem. Appointees should therefore receive confirmation from the House within the three month period or otherwise their appointments shall lapse. Re-appointing them on expiry of the three month period would be tantamount to extending their temporary office and would be contrary to this Article, but re-appointing the same person, after an interval, to the same position if it has since become vacant or remained vacant, could be permissible under this Clause as there is no express ban on re-submitting previous nominees.

[209] Muslim scholars.

[210] Islamic jurisprudence. Ijtima “interpretation and reasoning based on the sacred texts”

[211] No such Council has been set up so far, but 17 members of the House of Elders tabled a motion on 10 April 2005 proposing the setting up of the Council.

[212] See Article 117.

[213] It is submitted that this Clause was a transitional one which marked the development of the Somaliland Army from a liberation army consisting of units raised by various communities during the liberation war to a unified fully assimilated command. The Clause has been amended during the revision of the Constitution to make it more imperative. The previous wording included the phrase “as far as possible”.

[214] The Law of the Referendum on the Constitution 2001.

[215] A national referendum on the Constitution was held on 31 May 2001 and the constitution was endorsed overwhelmingly (97% of those voting being in favour). This Constitution, therefore, came into force on that date.

[216] The third Grand Conference of the Somaliland Communities finished in February 1997 and the three year period referred to in this Clause which expired in February 2000.

[217] In early (January) 2000, the two Houses passed a Resolution under this Clause which extended the 3 year period of the interim constitution by a further year to 16 February 2001. On 13 February 2001, the two Houses, n a highly contested joint session, extended the period by a further six months, on a vote of 64 for and 44 against.

[218] Also, by implication, the circumstances listed in Article 68, in respect of the members of the House of Elders.

[219]This is a transitional provision which was valid before the first direct elections of the President through the political parties system took place on 14 April 2003. After this first presidential election, Article 89(2) is the standard Clause which deals with succession on the occurrence of the eventualities listed in Article 86. Nonetheless, the circumstances described in this Clause did arise in 2002, before the three political parties allowed under Article 9 of the Constitution could be chosen through the first nationwide local elections, when President Egal sadly died on 3 May 2002 with 8 months of his extended term remaining. Although Article 130(4) was the obvious Clause applying to these circumstances, the decision was then made at an urgent meeting on 3 May 2002 attended by the Speakers of both Houses to follow Article 89(2), in preference to the former Article. Surprisingly this decision was not taken by the two Houses and neither did the Supreme Court give any formal advice/decision. The main reason for the decision appears to have been the overwhelming need to ensure a smooth transition of power and the perceived difficulties associated with implementing Article 130(4). This was a time when a number of political parties were just created and were getting ready for the first nation-wide elections, which under the Registration of Political Parties Law would decide which among the parties become the three allowed under the Article 9 of the Constitution and will then move on to contest the presidential and parliamentary elections. There were also the obvious difficulties posed by implementing Article 130(4). There were no procedures or laws laid down any where for the election of a President by the two Houses within the time limit of 45 days set under Article 130(4). It may have been feasible for the two Houses to pass urgently a law setting out the procedures, such as the number of candidates, the voting procedures etc, but what about the term of office of the new President? Under Article 88, the Constitution sets out a fixed term of 5 years for any president, but there was no specific provision that a President elected under Article 130(4) will serve any shorter term. It was possible for Parliament to amend Article 88 so that the elected President will have a shorter term, but amendments take time (at least 2 months under Article 126) and require a qualified majority of both Houses and could not have been effected within the 45 day period set for elections under Article 130(4). Also it was highly unlikely that the new parties gearing themselves for popular elections would have accepted another president selected under procedures similar to 1997 and 1993, rather than one popularly elected as laid down in this Constitution. Although there was no publicised disagreements with this decision at the time, this decision has remained highly controversial.

[220] Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 128 which make null and void any law which is in conflict with the Constitution, this Clause specifically mentions the two conditions (Islam and human rights) which would make old (pre 1991) laws void.