Originally published in the Journal of Peace Building & Development
This article argues that the distressing situation in Somalia offers an opportunity to introduce new legal institutions with less colonial path-dependence and greater sensitivity to the security and development needs of Somalians. Peace and stability could be enhanced by allowing customary law and Islamic courts to operate within the framework of the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC). A civil law system with the judicial discretion and selection of a common law system would help to enhance economic development by attracting foreign direct investment. A single court system which unifies ordinary and Sharia courts would create a more enabling legal environment for law and order and economic development than the dual court system. Moreover, as international human rights law is mainly in the form of conventions and treaties in the style of civil law, promotion and protection of human rights may be better served predominantly through a civil law system in which a judge applies particular provisions of specific conventions and treaties. Such a system would also help to harmonise a legal system which is cobbled together from five different sources of law.