This is the official version of the Constitution as
amended up to 31 December 1963. It supersedes
any English text previously published.
The Constitution was published in the Official Bulletin
No. 1 of 1 July 1960.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Acting in his capacity as Provisional President of the Republic:
HAVING SEEN the decision of the Constituent Assembly of 21
June 1960, approving the Constitution of the Somali Republic;
HAVING SEEN the first articles of the Transitional and Final
Provisions 0£ the Constitution;
HAVING SEEN paragraph 1 of the third article of the Transitional
and Final Provisions of the Constitution;
the Constitution of the Somali Republic in the following text:
IN THE NAME OF GOD
THE MERCIFUL AND BENEFICIENT
THE SOMALI PEOPLE
CONSCIOUS of the sacred right of se1f-determination of peoples
solemnly consecrated in the Charter of the United Nations;
FIRMLY decided to consolidate and protect the independence of
the Somali Nation and the right to liberty of its people, in a democracy
based on the sovereignty of the people and on the equality of rights and
duties of all citizens;
DETERMINED to cooperate with all peoples for the consolidation
of liberty, justice and peace in the world, and in particular with those
peoples with whom they are linked by history, religion, culture and
political outlook for the creation of a better future;
IN CONSTITUTING THEMSELVES into a unitary, sovereign and
independent Republic, lay down as the basis of the juridical and social
order of the Somali Nation the following:
1. Somalia is an independent and fully sovereign State. It is a
representative, democratic and unitary Republic. The Somali people is one
2. Sovereignty belongs to the people who shall exercise it in the
forms determined by the Constitution and the laws. No part of the people
nor any individual may claim sovereignty or assume the right to exercise
3. Islam shall be the religion of the State.
4. The national flag shall be azure in colour, rectangular, and shall
have a white star with five equal points emblazoned in its centre.
5. The emblem of Somalia shall be composed of an azure escutcheon
with a gold border and shall bear a silver five-pointed star. The
escutcheon, surmounted by an emabattlement with five points in Moorish
stile, the two lateral points halved, shall be borne by two leopards rampant
in natural form facing each other, resting on two lances crossing under the
point of the escutcheon, with two palm leaves in natural form interlaced
with a white ribbon.
1. The people consists of all the citizens.
2. The manner of acquiring and losing citizenship shall be established by
3. No person may be denied citizenship or deprived thereof for
Equality of the Citizens
All citizens, without distinction of race, national origin, birth,
language, religion, sex, economic or social status, or opinion, shall have
equal rights and duties before the law.
Territory of the State
1. The national territory is sacred and inviolable.
2. The territorial sovereignty shall extend to the continental territory,
the islands, the territorial sea, the subsoil, the air space above and the
3. Any modification of the national territory must be authorized by a
law approved by a four-fifth majority of the members of the National
4. The law shall determine the parts of the territory and the property
which belong to the State and to public bodies, and establish the legal
Supremacy of the Law
1. The organization of the State and the relationships between the
State and other persons, public or private, shall be governed by law.
2. Administrative acts contrary to law and legislative acts contrary to
the Constitution may be invalidated on the initiative of the interested party
in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
The Republic in the International Order
1. The generally accepted rules of international law and international
treaties duly concluded by the Republic and published in the manner
prescribed for legislative acts shall have the force of law.
2. The Republic repudiates war as a means of settling international
3. It accepts, on conditions of parity with other States, limitations on its
sovereignty necessary for the establishment of a system to ensure peace
4. The Somali Republic shall promote, by legal and peaceful means, the
union of Somali territories and encourage solidarity among the peoples of
the world, and in particular among African and Islamic peoples.
The laws of the Somali Republic shall comply, in so far as applicable, with
the principles of the Universal Declaration 0£ Human Rights adopted by
the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN
Right to Vote
1. Every citizen who possesses the qualifications required by law
shall have the right to vote.
2. The vote shall be personal, equal, free and secret.
Right of Access to Public Offer
Every citizen who possesses the qualifications required by law
shall be equally eligible for public office.
Right of Petition
1. Every citizen shall have the right to address written petitions to the
President of the Republic, the National Assembly and the Government.
2. Every petition which is not manifestly unfounded shall be
Right of Residence
1. Every citizen shall have the right to reside and travel freely in any
part of the territory of the State and shall not be subjected to deportation.
2. Every citizen shall have the right to leave the territory of the State
and to return thereto.
Right of Political Association
1. Every citizen shall have the right to associate in political parties,
without previous authorization, for the purpose of co-operating
democratically and peacefully in the shaping of national policy.
2. Political parties and associations which are secret, have an
organization of a military character or have a tribal denomination shall be
Right to Form Trade Unions
1. Every citizen shall have the right to form trade unions or to join
them for the protection of his economic interest.
2. Trade unions organized according to democratic principles shall be
considered juridical persons according to law.
3. Trade unions being juridical persons may negotiate collective
labour contracts binding on their members.
Right to Economic Initiative
1. Every citizen shall have the right to economic initiative within the
framework of the laws.
2. The law may control the exploration of the economic resources of
the territory of the State.
Duty of Loyalty to the Homeland
1. Every citizen shall be loyal to the State.
2. The defence of the homeland shall be the duty of every citizen.
3. Military service shall be governed by law.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MAN
Right to Liberty
Right to Life and to Personal Integrity
1. Every person shall have the right to life and to personal integrity.
2. Arbitrary limits to such rights may not be established.
3. The law may prescribe the death penalty only for the most serious crimes
against human life or the personality of the State.
1. Every person shall have the right to personal liberty.
2. Subjection to any form of slavery or servitude shall be punishable
as a crime.
3. No person shall be liable to any form of detention or other
restriction of personal liberty except when apprehended in
flagrante delicto or pursuant to an act of the competent judicial
authority, stating the grounds thereof, in the cases and in the
manner prescribed by law.
4. In cases of urgent necessity, expressly defined by law, the
competent administrative authority may adopt provisional measures which
shall be communicated without delay to the competent judicial authority
and confirmed by it within the time and in the manner prescribed by law,
failing which such measures shall be deemed to have been revoked and
shall be void.
5. In each case of detention or other restriction of personal liberty, the
reasons for the measure shall be communicated to the person concerned
6. No person shall be subjected to security measures except in the
cases and in the manner prescribed by law and pursuant to an act of the
competent authority, stating the grounds thereof.
7. No person shall be subjected to inspection or personal search
except in the cases and under the provisions laid down in paragraphs 3, 4
and 5, and in other cases as prescribed by law for, judicial, sanitary or
fiscal reasons, and in the manner prescribed therefor. In every case, the
se1f-respect and moral dignity of the person concerned must be preserved.
Guarantees in Cases of Restriction of Personal Liberty
Any physical or moral violence against a person subject to
restriction of personal liberty shall be punishable as a crime.
Extradition and Political Asylum
1. Extradition may be granted only in the cases and in the manner
prescribed by law, subject, in all cases, to priori international
2. No person may be subjected to extradition for political offences.
3. Any alien prosecuted in his own country for political offences shall have
the right to asylum in the territory of the State in the cases and under the
conditions provided by law.
Limits to Personal Service and Property Levy
No personal service or property levy may be imposed save in
accordance with law.
Freedom of Domicile
1. Every person shall the right to the inviolability of his domicile.
2. No inspection, search or seizure shall be carried out in the domicile
or in any other place reserved for personal use except in the cases and
under the provisions laid down in paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of Article 17 and
in other cases as prescribed by law for judicial purposes, and in the manner
Freedom of Correspondence
1. Every person shall have the right to freedom and secrecy of written
correspondence and of any other means of communication.
2. Limitations thereon may be imposed only in the cases and under
the provisions laid down in paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of Article 17 and in
other cases as prescribed by law for judicial purposes, and in the manner
All persons are equal in social dignity
1. The right to own property shall be guaranteed by law, which shall define
the modes of acquisition and the limits of the enjoyment thereof £or the
purpose of ensuring its social function.
2. Property may be expropriated only for reasons of public interest
and in the manner prescribed by law, in exchange for equitable and timely
Freedom of Assembly
1. Every person shall have the right to assemble in a peaceful manner
for a peaceful purpose.
2. The law may provide that previous notice of public meetings be
given to the authorities. Meetings may be forbidden only for reasons of
public health, safety, morality, order or security.
Freedom of Association
1. Every person shall have the right freely to form associations
2. No person may be compelled to join an association of any kind or
to continue to belong to it.
3. Secret associations or those having an organization of military
character shall be prohibited.
Right to Strike
1. The right to strike is recognized and may be exercised within the
limits prescribed by law. Any act tending to discriminate against, or to
restrict, the free exercise of trade union rights shall be prohibited.
Freedom of Opinion
1. Every person shall have the right freely to express his own opinion
in any manner, subject to any limitations which may be prescribed by law
for the purpose of safeguarding morals and public security.
2. Expressions of opinion may not be subject, to prior authorization
Freedom of Religion
Every person shall have the right to freedom of conscience and
freely to profess his own religion and to worship it subject to any
limitations which may be prescribed by law for the purpose of
safeguarding morals, public health or order. However, it shall not be
permissible to spread or propagandize any religion other than the religion
of Islam(*). [Note (*): As amended by law No. 16 of 29 June 1963]
1. Every person shall have the right to a personal status in accordance
with his respective laws or customs.
2. The personal status of Muslims is governed by the general
principles of the Islamic Sharia.
Protection of the Family
1. The family based on marriage, as being the fundamental element of
society, shall be protected by the State.
2 Parents shall provide for the support, education and instruction of
their children, as required by law.
3. The law shall provide for the fulfillment of the obligations set out
in the preceding paragraph in case of death of the parents and whenever,
by reason of incapacity or otherwise, the parents do not perform them.
4. Children who are full age shall be obliged to support their parents
when the latter are unable to provide for themselves.
5. The State shall protect motherhood and childhood and encourage
the institutions necessary for this purpose.
6. The State shall recognize the protection of children of unknown
parents as its duty.
The State shall promote and encourage the creation of welfare
institutions for physically handicapped persons and abandoned children.
Protection of Public Health
The State shall protect public health and promote free medical
assistance for indigent persons.
Safeguarding of Public Morality
The State shall safeguard public morality in the manner prescribed
1. The State shall encourage education, as being a fundamental
interest of the community, and provide for the creation of State schools
open to all.
2. Primary education in public schools shall be free.
3. Freedom of teaching shall be guaranteed by law.
4. Organizations and individuals shall have the right to establish, in
accordance with law and without financial support from the State, schools
and educational institutions.
5. Private schools and educational institutions may have a parity of
status with State schools and institutions under the conditions laid down
6. Teaching of Islam shall be compulsory for pupils of Islamic faith in
primary and secondary State schools and in schools having a parity of
status. Teaching of Holy Koran shall be a fundamental element in primary
and secondary State schools for Muslims.
7. Institutes of higher education shall have, their own ~utono- mous
organization within the limits prescribed by law.
Protection of Labour
1. The State shall protect labour and encourage it in all its forms and
2. Forced and compulsory labour of any kind shall be prohibited. The
cases in which labour may be ordered for military or civil necessity or
pursuant to a penal conviction shall be pre-scribed by law.
3. Every worker shall have the right to receive, without any
discrimination, equal pay for work of equal value, so as to ensure an
existence consistent with human dignity.
4. Every worker shall have the right to a weekly rest and annual leave
with pay; he shall not be compelled to renounce it.
5. The law shall establish the maximum working hours and the
minimum age for the various types of work and shall ensure that minors
and women work only under suitable conditions.
6. The State shall protect the physical and moral integrity of the
Social Security and Assistance
1. The State shall promote social security and assistance by law.
2. The State shall guarantee to its civil and military employees the
right to pension; it also shall guarantee in accordance with law, assistance
in case of accident, illness or incapacity for work.
Right to Institute Legal Proceedings
Every person shall have the right to institute legal proceedings,
under conditions of full equality, before a lawfully constituted court.
Protection against Acts of the Public Administration
Judicial protection against acts of the public administration shall be
allowed in all cases, in the manner and with the effects prescribed by law.
Civil Liability of the State for the Acts of
its Officials and Employees
1. Whoever suffers damages from acts or omissions in violation of
his rights by officials or employees of the State or of public bodies in the
performance of their duties, shall have the right to obtain compensation
from the State or the public bodies concerned.
2. The penal, civil and administrative liability of officials and
employees for the acts or omissions referred to in the preceding paragraph
shall be governed by law.
Right of Defence
1. The right of defence shall be allowed at every stage of legal
2. The State shall guarantee, under the conditions and in the manner
prescribed by law, free legal aid to the poor.
Non-retroactive Nature of Penal Law
No person may be convicted for an act which was not punishable
as an offence under the law in force at the time when it was committed;
nor may a heavier punishment be imposed than the one applicable at that
1. Penal liabilities shall be personal. Any ind of collective
punishment shall be forbidden.
2. The accused shall be presumed innocent until the conviction has
Social Purpose of Punishment
Punishments restrictive of personal liberty shall not consist of
treatment contrary to feelings of humanity or be such as to obstruct the
moral rehabilitation of the convicted person.
Enforcement of Punishments
Supervision over the enforcement of punishment and security
measures shall be exercised by the competent court in accordance with
Redress of Judicial Errors
The conditions and the procedure for the redress of -judicial errors
shall be prescribed by law.
Duties Towards the State
Duty to Observe the Constitution and the Laws
Every person shall loyally observe the Constitution and the laws of
Duty to Pay Taxes
1. Every person shall contribute to public expenditure according to
his capacity to pay.
2. A system of taxation based on principles of social justice shall be
established by law.
ORGANIZATION OF THE STATE
The National Assembly
Organization of the National Assembly
The legislative power shall be vested in the National Assembly.
The Doctrine of Islam in the Legislation
The doctrine of Islam shall be the main source of the laws of the
1. The National Assembly shall consist of deputies elected by the
people by universal, free, direct and secret ballot, and of deputies as of
2. The number of deputies and the electoral system shall be
established by law.
3. Every citizen who has the right to vote and who in the year of the
elections has completed at least twenty-five years of age shall be eligible
to be a deputy. The law shall prescribe the grounds for ineligibility and
incompatibility with membership in the National Assembly.
4. Whoever has been President of the Republic shall become a deputy for
life as of right, in addition to the elected deputies, provided that he has not
been convicted of any of the crimes referred to in paragraph 1 of Article
Term of Office and Elections
I. Each legislature shall be elected for a period of five years starting from
the proclamation of the electoral results. Any modification of this term of
office shall have no effect on the duration of the legislature during which
such decision is taken.
2. The date for the elections to the new Assembly shall be fixed by the
President of the Republic and shall take place during the last thirty days of
the legislature in session.
3. The new Assembly shall meet for the first time within thirty days of the
proclamation of the electoral results.
Dissolution of the Assembly
1. The Assembly may be dissolved before the end of its term of office
by the President of the Republic, having heard the opinion of the President
of the Assembly, whenever it cannot discharge its functions or discharges
them in a manner prejudicial to the normal exercise of legislative activity.
2. By the same decree dissolving the Assembly, the President of the
Republic shall fix the date for the new elections, and the elections shall
take place within sixty days of the dissolution.
3. No dissolution shall take place during the first year in office of the
Assembly, nor during the last year in office of the President of the
4. The outgoing Assembly shall retain its powers in all cases until the
proclamation of the electoral results for the new Assembly.
Sessions of the Assembly
1. The Assembly shall hold two annual sessions commencing,
respectively, in the months of April and October .
2. The Assembly may be convened in extraordinary session by its
President, or on the request of the President of the Republic, or of the
Government, or of one fourth of the deputies.
1. At its first meeting, the National Assembly shall elect, from among
the deputies, a President, one or more Vice-Presidents and the other
members of the office of the Presidency.
2. Law and order in the Assembly shall be maintained by the
Assembly itself through its President or through whoever acts in his place,
in accordance with rules or procedure.
3. The meetings 0£ the Assembly shall be public. In exceptional cases
only, the Assembly may decide to meet in closed session on the motion of
its President, or at the request of the President of the Republic, or of the
Government, or of not less than thirty deputies.
4. The decision of the Assembly shall not valid unless the absolute
majority of the deputies, not counting the seats declared vacant, are
5. All decisions shall be taken by a vote of the majority of those
present except when a special majority is required by the Constitution or
6. No proposal rejected by the Assembly may be re-introduced until
six months have elapsed after the rejection.
Participation of the Ministers and Under-Secretaries of State
1. Ministers and Under-Secretaries shall have the right to attend the
meetings of the Assembly and of the committees and to take part in the
discussion. Officials and experts, at the
request of Ministers, may also attend such meetings and be heard
2. Ministers and Under-Secretaries shall be present at the meetings if
requested by the Assembly.
Rules of Procedure
Except as otherwise provided by the Constitution, the conduct of
business in the Assembly shall be governed by rules of procedure
approved by the Assembly on the proposal of its President or of at least
1. Every deputy represents the people and shall exercise his functions
without being bound by any mandate.
2. Upon assuming his functions, each deputy shall take the following
oath of loyalty to the State before the Assembly: «In the name of God, I
swear that I will discharge faithfully all my duties in the interest of the
people and will abide by the Constitution and the laws».
3. Deputies shall not be prosecuted for facts mentioned, opinions
expressed or votes cast in the exercise of their functions.
4. Without the authorization of the Assembly, no criminal
proceedings shall be instituted against a deputy, nor shall a
deputy be arrested or otherwise deprived of personal liberty nor shall his
person or domicile be subjected to search, except in case of flagrante
delicto for a crime in respect of which a warrant or order of arrest is
mandatory, nor shall he be placed under arrest or detention in execution of
a sentence, even where it has become final.
5. In cases other than those involving criminal proceedings, an action
may be taken against a deputy in accordance with law, without
authorization of the Assembly.
6. Deputies in office shall be entitled to the emoluments and daily
sitting allowances fixed by law.
Decisions on the Validity of the Qualifications of Deputies
1. The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction over petitions
challenging the qualifications of deputies.
2. Petitions, stating the grounds thereof, may be filed by any citizen,
who is a voter, within thirty days of .the proclamation of the electoral
results or of the occurrence of the cause of incompatibility or ineligibility.
3. The Supreme Court shall give a decision within ninety days from
the date of expiry of the time-limit fixed for the filing of petitions.
4. Where a deputy ceases to exercise his functions, his seat shall be
declared vacant by the Assembly and shall be filled in the manner
prescribed by law:
Preparation of Laws and Other Functions
of the National Assembly
Presentation and Discussion of Draft Laws
1. Each deputy, the Government or at least 10,000 voters, shall have
the right to present draft laws to the National Assembly.
2. The exercise of popular initiative shall be governed by law, and
shall not pertain to matters of taxation.
3. Prior to the discussion in the Assembly, every draft law shall be
examined by a parliamentary committee which shall present one or more
reports thereon to the Assembly.
4. The Assembly shall discuss each draft law in accordance with the
rules of procedure. It shall vote on it article by article, and in the end it
shall vote on the draft law as a whole.
Promulgation and Publication
1. Every law approved by the Assembly shall be promulgated by the
President of the Republic within sixty days of its approval.
2. Where the Assembly declares, by an absolute majority of its
members, that there is an urgent need, a law shall be promulgated
within the time-limit fixed by the Assembly, provided that such
time-limit shall not be less than five days.
3. Within the period fixed for promulgation, the President of the
Republic may transmit to the Assembly a message, stating the grounds
thereof, requesting that the law be reconsidered.
4. Where the Assembly approves such law again by a two-third
majority, the President of the Republic shall promulgate it within thirty
days of the approval.
5. Every law approved by the Assembly and promulgated by the Head
of the State shall be published in the Official Bulletin and shall come into
force on the fifteenth day following its pub- lication, unless the law
Delegation of Legislative Power
1. The Assembly may delegate to the Government the power to issue,
on specified subjects or matters and for a limited period, provisions having
the force 0£ law. In delegating authority, the Assembly may establish the
policy and issue directives.
2. Provisions made under a delegated power shall be issued by decree
of the President of the Republic on proposals approved by the Council of
1. In a case of urgent necessity, the Government may issue temporary
provisions having the force of law. Such provisions shall be issued by
decree of the, President of the Republic, on
proposals approved by the Council of Ministers, and shall, within five
days from the date of their publication, be presented to the National
Assembly for conversion into law.
2. If in session, the Assembly shall decide on their conversion into
law within thirty days of the date of presentation; if not in session, it shall
decide within thirty days of its first subsequent meeting.
3. Provisions which are not converted into law shall cease to have
effect ab initio; the Assembly may, however, decide that such effect shall
cease on a different date and may regulate the legal consequences arising
from the non-conversion of such provisions.
Amnesty and Indult
1. The power of granting amnesty and indult may be delegated to the
President of the Republic by a law approved by the Assembly, by a twothird
majority of the deputies.
2. Amnesty and indult may not be granted in respect of offences
committed after the presentation of the draft law on the delegation of
Taxation and Expenditure
1. The imposition, modification and abolition of taxes shall be
effected only by law.
2. Laws involving new or larger State expenditure, shall specify the
means for meeting such expenditure.
3. In the case of an expenditure to continue for more than one year,
the means to meet it may be limited to the budget for the current year.
Budget and Annual Accounts
1. The Assembly shall approve each year the estimated budget, which
shall be presented by the Government at least two months before the end
of the financial year.
2. The law approving the budget may not establish new fiscal charges
and new expenditures.
3. Provisional application 0£ the budget may be authorized by law for
periods not exceeding three months in toto.
4. Within the first six months of each financial year, the Government
shall present to the Assembly, for approval, the Annual Accounts relating
to the previous financial year.
The Assembly shall authorize by law the ratification of political,
military and commercial international treaties or of treaties which involve
a modification of the law or financial commitments not included in the
State of War
The Assembly shall authorize the declaration of a state of war and
confer on the Government the necessary powers.
Power of Investigation of the Assembly
1. Each deputy shall have the right to put questions or to submit
interpellations to the Government and to propose motions to the
Assembly. The Government shall reply within twenty days.
2. The Assembly may order investigations through committees
consisting of deputies from all parliamentary groups, in order to
investigate occurrences or situations of public interest. When it decides to
order such an investigation the Assembly shall establish, within the limits
of the Constitution, the powers of the committee; it may also appoint
experts to co-operate with the committees.
The President of the Republic
1. The President of the Republic shall be the Head of the State and
represent the unity of the nation.
2. The President of the Republic shall be elected, by secret ballot, by
the National Assembly, with a majority of two thirds of its members on the
first and second ballots, or by an absolute majority of its members in
3. On assuming his functions, the President of the Republic shall take
the following oath of loyalty to the State before the
National Assembly: «In the name of God I swear that I will discharge
faithfully all my duties as President of the Republic and defend the
Constitution with all my strength in the interest of the Country and the
Qualifications for Eligibility
1. Any Muslim citizen whose father and mother are both original
citizens, and who has the right to vote and is not less than forty five years
of age, shall be eligible to .become President of the Republic. A person
shall not be elected consecutively for more than two terms.
2. The President of the Republic shall not have been married to, nor
shall he marry during his term of office, any woman who is not an original
3. The President of the Republic during his term of office shall not
exercise any other public function, except the right to vote, nor shall he
engage in any professional, commercial, industrial or financial activity.
Term of Office
1. The term of office of the President of the Republic shall be six
years from the date of his taking the oath. Any modification of this period
shall not apply to the President in office.
2. The President of the National Assembly shall fix the date for the
election of the new President of the Republic. The
election shall take place within thirty days prior to the expiry of the term of
office of the President of the Republic.
3. Where the National Assembly is dissolved or where its term is due
to expire within less than three months, the election of the President shall
take place within thirty days following the first meeting of the new
Assembly. During that period the President in office shall continue in
Emoluments and Establishment of the
President of the Republic
The emoluments of the President of the Republic and the amount
required for his establishment shall be fixed by law.
Disability, Resignation, Death
1. In case of death, resignation, or permanent disability of the
President of the Republic, the National Assembly shall meet within thirty
days to elect a new President of the Republic.
2. Until the election provided for in the preceding paragraph has
taken place and in cases when the powers of the President in office have
been suspended under Article 76, as well as in all cases of temporary
disability, the functions of the President shall be temporarily exercised
with full legal effect by the President of the National Assembly, or, in his
absence, by the most senior Vice-President.
3. In case of resignation, the President of the Republic shall give
written notice thereof to the National Assembly.
Powers and Duties
The President of the Republic shall exercise the functions
conferred upon him by the Constitution and by law, in the legislative,
executive and judicial fields. In addition, he shall:
a) authorize the presentation to the National Assembly of draft
legislation originating with the Government;
b) address messages to the National Assembly;
c) grant pardon and commute sentences;
d) accredit and receive diplomatic agents;
e) ratify international treaties, after previous authorization from the
National Assembly, where required;
f) be the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces;
g) declare a state of war after authorization from the National
Assembly in accordance with Article 68;
h) confer State honours.
1. The President 0£ the Republic shall not be responsible for acts
performed in the exercise of his functions, except for crimes of high
treason or attempts against the constitutional order, as provided by law.
2. The responsibility for acts of the President shall rest with the Prime
Minister and the competent Ministers who subscribe to them.
3. In case of high treason or attempts against the constitutional order,
the President of the Republic shall be impeached by a decision of the
National Assembly taken on the motion of at least one fifth of its members
and approved by secret ballot by a majority of two thirds of the deputies;
he shall be tried by the Supreme Court constituted as the High Court of
4. Except in the cases mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the
President of the Republic shall not be tried for any penal offence except
when the Assembly gives its authorization, approved by secret ballot by a
majority of two thirds of the deputies.
5. An approval of impeachment for high treason or for an attempt
against the constitutional order or an authorization to institute criminal
proceedings for any other offence shall entail the automatic suspension of
the powers of the President.
Organization of the Government
The executive power shall be vested in the Government.
1. The Government shall be composed of the Prime Minister and the
2. The meeting of the Prime Minister and the Ministers shall
constitute the Council of Ministers.
3. The Prime Minister shall be appointed and dismissed by the
President of the Republic.
4. The Ministers shall be appointed and dismissed by the President of
the Republic on the proposal of the Prime Minister .
5. Before assuming their functions, the Prime Minister and the
Ministers shall take the following oath of loyalty to the State before the
President of the Republic: «In the name of God I swear that I will
discharge faithfully my duties in the interest of the people and will abide
by the Constitution and the laws.«
Under-Secretaries of State
1. The Ministers may be assisted by Under-Secretaries of State who
shall be appointed and dismissed by the President of the Republic, on the
proposal of the Prime Minister, having heard the Council of Ministers.
2. The Under-Secretaries shall assist the Ministers and exercise the
functions delegated to them.
3. Before assuming their functions, the Under-Secretaries shall take
the following oath of loyalty to the State before the Prime Minister: «In the
name of God I swear that I will discharge
faithfully my duties in the interest of the people and will abide by the
Constitution and the laws.”
Qualifications for Appointment of Ministers
1. Any citizen possessing the qualifications required for election as a
deputy may be appointed as Minister or Under-Secretary.
2. A Minister or Under-Secretary, during his period in office, shall
not exercise any other public functions, except the exercise of the right to
vote and of the functions as deputy in the National Assembly, nor shall he
engage in professional, commercial, industrial or financial activities. He
shall not directly or indirectly obtain the lease of, or purchase property
belonging to the State or to public bodies, except for premises to be used
as his personal residence. He shall not, furthermore, sell or lease his own
property to the State or to public bodies, or participate in a personal
capacity in State enterprises or in enterprises controlled by the State.
Presidency of the Council of Ministers and Ministries
1. The functions of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers as well
as the number and the functions of the Ministries shall be established by
2. The organization of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, of
the Ministries and of subordinate offices shall be laid down in regulations
issued by decree of the President of the Republic.
Confidence of the National Assembly
1. The Government shall obtain the confidence of the National
Assembly within thirty days of its formation. The Government shall
present itself to the Assembly and request its confidence. Subsequently,
the Government may ask the Assembly to express its confidence at any
2. The National Assembly shall express its confidence or noconfidence
by means of a motion, stating the grounds thereof, approved by
a simple majority in open vote.
3. A motion of no-confidence, stating the grounds thereof, may also
be proposed at any time, by at least ten deputies, and shall be examined
not earlier than five days after its presentation. In order to be carried, it
shall require an absolute majority in open vote.
4. Upon a vote of no-confidence by the Assembly, all the members of
the Government shall resign.
5. The resigning Government shall continue in office for the purpose
of carrying out routine duties until the appointment of the new
Activities of the Government and Subordinate Organs
Powers and Responsibilities of the Prime Minister
and the Ministers
1. The Prime Minister shall direct the general policy of the
Government and shall be responsible therefor. He shall maintain
the unity of the Government's policy by co-ordinating and promoting
the activities of the Ministers.
2. The Ministers shall direct the affairs within the competence of their
Ministries and shall be individually responsible therefor.
3. The Prime Minister and the Ministers shall be jointly res- ponsible
for the acts of the Council of Ministers.
Penal Responsibility of the Prime Minister and the Ministries
1. The Prime Minister and the Ministers are responsible for offences
committed in the exercise of their functions.
2. In respect of such offences, the Prime Minister and the Ministers
shall be impeached on a decision of the National Assembly taken on the
motion of at least one fifth of its members and approved by secret ballot
by a majority of two thirds of the deputies; they shall be tried by the
Supreme Court constituted as the High Court of Justice.
3. Except as provided in the preceding paragraph, no criminal
proceedings shall be instituted against the Prime Minister or the Ministers,
except by authorization of the Assembly, approved by secret ballot by a
majority of two thirds of the deputies.
4. The Prime Minister or a Minister committed for trial before the
High Court of Justice shall be automatically suspended from exercising his
Power to Issue Regulations
Regulations shall he issued by decree of the President of the
Republic on proposals approved by the Council of Ministers.
The power to issue regulations on specific matters may be given by law to
other organs 0£ the State and to public bodies.
Whenever possible, administrative functions shall be decentralized
and performed by the local organs of the State and by public bodies.
Appointment of High Officials
High officials and commanders o£ the military forces specified by
law shall be appointed by the President 0£ the Republic, on the proposal of
the competent Minister approved by the Council of Ministers.
Civil Servants and Public Employees
1. Civil servants and public employees shall exercise their functions
in accordance with the law and solely in the public interest.
2. Civil servants and public employees may not be leaders of political
3. The categories of civil servants and public employees who shall
not belong to political parties or engage in other activities incompatible
with their functions shall be established by law.
4. Any civil servant or public employee who is on leave for any
reason shall not be promoted except on grounds of seniority.
5. The status of civil servants shall be established by law.
6. Appointments to the permanent establishment of the civil service
shall be made only after a public competitive examination, except in the
cases provided by law.
Civil Service Commission
1. A Civil Service Commission shall be established by a law which
shall provide for its composition and powers.
2. The law establishing the Civil Service Commission shall guarantee
the independence of its functions.
Magistrate of Accounts
1. The Magistrate of Accounts shall exercise a prior control over the
legality of Government acts involving financial obligations and a postaudit
on the State budget.
2. The Magistrate of Accounts shall participate, in the manner
specified by law, in the control over the financial management
of agencies to which the State makes a regular contribution, and of
agencies to which the State makes a substantial contribution as an
3. He shall report to the National Assembly on the results of his audit.
4. The law shall regulate the organization of this organ and guarantee
the independence of its functions; it shall ensure that the organs and
agencies subject to audit have the right to be heard in any judicial
proceeding connected therewith.
National Economic and Labour Council
The National Economic and Labour Council shall be composed, in
the manner prescribed by law, of experts and representatives of categories
of producers of national wealth in proportion to their numerical strength
and economic importance.
It shall be an advisory body to the National Assembly and to the
Government in respect of matters and functions assigned to it by law.
The judicial power shall be vested in the Judiciary.
Independence of the Judiciary
The Judiciary shall be independent of the executive and legislative
1. The Supreme Court shall be the highest judicial organ of the
Republic. It shall have jurisdiction over the whole territory of the STate in
civil, criminal, administrative and accounting matters, and in any other
matter specified by the Constitution and by law.
2. The organization of the Supreme Court and of the other judicial
organs shall be established by law.
Unity of the Judiciary
1. No extraordinary or special courts shall be established.
2. There may only be established, as part of the ordinary courts,
specialized sections for specific matters, with the participation, where
necessary, of citizens who are experts, from outside the Judiciary.
3. The jurisdiction of Military Tribunals in time of war shall be
established by law. In time of peace, they shall have jurisdiction
diction only in respect of military offences committed by members of the
Armed Forces.[Note: As amended by Law No.6 of 30 January 1963.]
4. The people shall participate directly in assize proceedings, in the
manner prescribed by law.
1. In the exercise of their judicial functions, the members of the
Judiciary shall be subject only to law.
2. The rules concerning the legal status and the appointments of
members of the Judiciary shall be established by law.
3. Members of the Judiciary shall not be removed or transferred
except in the cases specified by law.
4. Members of the Judiciary shall not hold offices, perform services
or engage in activities incompatible with their functions.
5. Administrative and disciplinary measures relating to members of
the Judiciary shall be adopted, as provided by law, by decree of the
President of the Republic, on the proposal of the Minister of Grace and
Justice, having heard the Higher Judicial Council.
1. Judicial proceedings shall be public; the court may decide,
however, for reasons of morals, hygiene or public order, that the
proceedings be held in camera.
2. No judicial decision shall be taken unless all the parties have had
on opportunity of presenting their case.
3. All judicial decisions and all measures concerning personal liberty
shall state the grounds therefor, and shall be subject to appeal in
accordance with law.
4. The Police and Armed Forces shall be directly available to the
judicial organs for the performance of acts pertaining to their functions.
Review of the Constitutionality of Laws
Constitutionality of Laws
1. Laws and provisions having the force of law shall conform to the
Constitution and to the general principles of Islam.
2. In the course of a judicial proceeding, the question of the
constitutionality of a law or a provision having the force of law may be
raised, as to the form or substance, by means of a petition of the party
concerned or of the Office of the Attorney General, or by the court on its
own motion, where the decision depends, even though partially, on the
application of the law or provision being challenged.
3. Where a petition is presented by the party concerned or by the
Office of the Attorney General while the case is pending before a court of
first or second instance, the court, where it finds the petition not manifestly
unfounded, shall suspend judgment and refer the matter to the Supreme
Court for a decision, which shall be binding upon the former court.
4. Where a petition is presented while the case is pending before the
Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, where it finds the petition not
manifestly unfounded, shall suspend judgment and proceed according to
5. The same procedure shall apply where the question 0£
constitutionality is raised by a court 0£ first or second instance, or bv the
Supreme Court, on their own motion.
1. A question of constitutionality shall be decided by the Supreme
Court constituted as the Constitutional. Court, with the addition of two
members appointed for a period of three years by the President of the
Republic, on the proposal of the Council of Ministers and two members,
elected for the same period by the National Assembly by an absolute
2. The qualifications of the additional members shall be prescribed by
A decision of the Supreme Court declaring that a. law or a
provision having the force 'of law is unconstitutional shall be
communicated by the Court to the" President of the Republic,
the President of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, and shall
be published in the manner prescribed for the publication of laws.
Criminal Proceedings Against the President of the Republic
and the Members of the Government
1. The articles of impeachment approved by the National Assembly
under Article 76 or Article 84, shall specify the acts alleged to have been
committed by the President of the Republic or any member of the
Government and their accomplices, if any.
2. The National Assembly shall appoint, from among its members, or
from outside, one or three Prosecuting Commissioners who shall act as
Public Prosecutor in proceedings before the Supreme Court constituted as
the High Court of Justice.
High Court of Justice
The Supreme Court constituted as the High Court of Justice shall
conduct the trials with six additional members, drawn by lot by the
President of the Court at a public hearing from a special list of twelve
citizens qualified for election as deputies. The twelve citizens shall be
elected by the National Assembly at the beginning of each term from
among persons who are not members of the Assembly.
1. The provisions governing proceedings before the Supreme Court
constituted as the Constitutional Court or the High Court of Justice shall
be laid down by law.
2. The Court shall establish its own rules of court for the hearings.
Amendments to the Constitution
Amendments and Additions to the Constitution
Amendments or additions to the provisions of the Constitution
shall be decided by the National Assembly on the proposal of at least one
fifth of its members, or of the Government, or of 10,000 voters, by two
successive ballots held at an interval of not less than three months,
approval thereof requiring an absolute majority of the deputies on the first
ballot and a two third majority on the second ballot.
Limits on Amendments to the Constitution
The Constitution shall not be amended under the terms of the
preceding article for the purpose of modifying the republican and
democratic form of government or for restricting the fundamental rights
and freedoms 0£ the citizen and of man guaranteed by the Constitution.
TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
Transitional Exercise of Powers
1. Until the appointment of the Provisional President of the Republic,
which shall take place not later than 1 July 1960, the powers and functions
vested by the Constitution in the President of the Republic shall be
exercised by the President of the Legislative Assembly acting as
Provisional President of the Republic, with the exception of the power
specified in paragraph 1 of Article 53.
He shall promulgate this Constitution.
2. Immediately after signing the Act of Union of the two Somali
Territories (Somalia and SomaliIand), the new National Assembly shall
elect, in the manner specified in paragraph 2 of Article 70, a Provisional
President of the Republic, who shall remain in office until the election of
the first President or of the other Provisional President provided for in
paragraph 1 of provision No. IV.
The Provisional President shall exercise all the powers vested by
the Constitution in the President of the Republic, with the exception of the
power specified in Article 53, and shall, by decree, fix the date of the
referendum provided for in the following provisions.
Entry into Force of the Constitution and Referendum
1. This Constitution shall provisionally come into force on 1 July
1960 and shall, within one year of such date, be submitted to a popular
referendum in which all the voters shall be called upon to participate.
2. All voters shall have the right to express their approval or
disapproval of the Constitution in a free, direct and secret manner and in
accordance with a special law to be issued on the referendum.
3. The regularity of the referendum operations shall be confirmed by
the Supreme Court, which shall decide on this matter not less than ten nor
more than thirty days after the closure of the voting. The Supreme Court
shall also decide on any complaint or appeal which may be presented, and
such decision shall be final.
On giving the confirmation order, the Court shall also proclaim the
results of the referendum,
4. In case of non-confirmation, a new referendum shall be held within
three months of the date of the Court's decision.
Results of the Referendum
1. If the results of the referendum are contrary to the adoption of this
Constitution, the National Assembly shall, within fifteen days of the
proclamation of the results by the Supreme Court, elect a new Provisional
President of the Republic and declare the previous one to be no longer in
office; the Constituent Assembly shall thereupon provide for the adoption
of a new Constitution, which shall be submitted; to a referendum within
six months following the appointment of the new provisional President.
2. If the results of the referendum are favourable, this Constitution
shall be considered final and, within fifteen days, the National Assembly
shall elect the President of the Republic in accordance with this
1. Until the proclamation of the result of the referendum, the text of
the Constitution shall be posted at town halls and at the offices of the
District Commissioners of the Republic so that every citizen may become
acquainted with it.
2. The Constitution shall be faithfully observed as the fundamental
law of the Republic by all the organs of the State and by all persons under
The Constitution, embossed with the State’s seal, shall be included
in the Official Compilation of laws and Decrees of the Somali Republic.
Mogadishu, 1 July 1960.
ADEN ABDULLA OSMAN
President of the Legislative Assembly
ABDULLAHI ISSA MOHAMUD
MOHAMED SCEK GABIOU
Minister for the Constitution
SCEK MOHAMUD MOHAMED FARAH
Minister of Grace and Justice
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Somalia constitution allows abortion to save mom
By ABDI GULED, Associated Press–2 days agoMOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somali leaders are debating a new constitution that protects the right to have an abortion to save the life of the mother, and an international law group says the draft guarantees more fundamental rights than the U.S. Constitution.
That's one reason some women are celebrating the document and hardline conservatives are protesting some of its more liberal promises.
But some of the rights introduced, such as the right to medical care or clean, potable water, will be hard for the government to guarantee in a country where basic needs like food are not always met. While other elements, such as banning the circumcision of girls, a practice the U.N. says more than 95 percent of women have undergone, will take years to banish.
Somali leaders — 825 of them — began a nine-day meeting on Wednesday to examine, debate and vote on the constitution, a document that's been years in the making. A vote by the group, known as the National Constituent Assembly, is likely to be held late next week and is a key step in a flurry of political activity in Somalia over the next month.
The U.N. mandate for Somalia's current government expires on Aug. 20, and Somali leaders are to vote on the constitution, vote in a new 275-member parliament and then vote on a president all before then. If the assembly votes down the constitution, the new parliament will have to debate it and then vote on it.
Somali Prime Minister Abdiwali Mohamed Ali, who for years lived in western New York, called the gathering of Somali leaders a milestone and said the new constitution "is a symbol of justice and equality for our people and country." He said that the new constitution is only meant to be temporary. The eventual goal is to pass a constitution by countrywide vote, but the security, money and organization needed to hold a nationwide vote is still years away. Al-Shabab militants were pushed out of Mogadishu last year but still rule south-central Somalia.
The current constitution is the Transitional Federal Charter, which was written in 2004. Meant only as a temporary charter, it contains fewer rights than are spelled out in the new draft constitution.
The draft constitution makes it clear that Islamic law is the basis for Somalia's legal foundation. No religion other than Islam can be propagated in the country and all laws must be compliant with Shariah — Islamic — law. Despite those clauses, the constitution also says that "every person is free to practice his or her religion," though no other religions are mentioned in the document.
The draft guarantees minority rights but does not mention homosexuality. It says no marriage is legal without the consent "of both the man and woman," a formula that appears to define marriage as a heterosexual institution but one that also forbids child marriage.
Augustine P. Mahiga, the U.N. representative for Somalia, said the constitution will "bring Somalia into the 21st century on issues such as fundamental human rights and freedoms, including empowerment of women."
But women's rights in a country as conservative as Somalia is sparking debate between conservative hard-liners, progressive leaders and women. Draft language in some government documents stipulates that 30 percent of the parliament seats should be held by women, but the draft constitution offers no such guarantee.
"Our religion does not allow women to hold an elected position in the country," Sheikh Mohamed Abdi, the leader of a Mogadishu mosque. "So this is a clear contradiction to the teaching of Islam."
The prime minister's office, in an emailed news release, sent out a picture showing a woman holding up a sign at the meeting of 825 leaders on Wednesday: "Where is our 30 percent?" it said in English.
"We believe this is the best constitution we have ever seen in Somalia," said Salado Nur, a member of the assembly. "We hope the violation of women's rights will decrease or be stopped completely."
The English translation of the Somali language constitution is 88 pages long. It was drafted by international law experts and members of the Somalia Diaspora who have lived in the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia, said Kym Smithies, a U.N. spokeswoman.
That international expertise and the overseas experience of the Somali ex-pats may explain the draft's numerous individual rights.
The International Development Law Organization, a group that offers legal expertise and resources to governments and civil society groups, said earlier this month that it compared Somalia's draft constitution for the presence of fundamental rights to those from 53 of the 56 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as well as the constitutions of Italy and the U.S.
"Notably, across the 45 fundamental rights surveyed, the draft Somali constitution guarantees 36, which places Somalia in the top five of the countries surveyed in terms of these rights," the group said. "The Somali (draft constitution) guarantees six more fundamental rights than the Constitution of Italy, and 15 more than the Constitution of the United States of America."
For all of the rights that the constitution enshrines, its most controversial issue for some members of the constituent assembly is that it does not expressly cite Mogadishu as Somalia's capital.
"Mogadishu has been Somalia's capital for the past hundreds of years and that has been stipulated in all of Somalia's constitutions and charters," Yusuf Nor, a high school teacher in Mogadishu said. "Why not just say Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia? What is the problem with that?"
Somalia adopted an initial constitution after gaining independence from Britain and Italy in 1960 and updated it in 1979. But Somalia's government structure broke down completely in 1991, when the country fell into civil war, and the country has not seen a true federal government since.
The international community is now working to help legitimize a new federal government that can assert control over the country, a task made more difficult by years of warfare and corruption.
Also, the new draft constitution appears to make promises that will be hard for the government to keep. In a country where basic needs like food are not always met, the constitution says that every person has the right to clean, potable water. Every person has the right to health care, even if they can't pay for it, the draft says, another difficult-to-fulfill promise.
No marriage is legal without the consent of both the man and the woman, it says. No child may perform work that is not suitable for a child's age — another clause that defies reality in a country where an enormous number of children work. Each child is to be protected from armed conflict, it says. Somalia has a history of child soldiers on both the government and insurgent side.
"All citizens, regardless of sex, religion, social or economic status, political opinion, clan, disability, occupation, birth or dialect shall have equal rights and duties before the law," it says. Circumcision of girls is "a cruel and degrading customary practice, and is tantamount to torture. The circumcision of girls is prohibited."
The draft constitution says that abortion is contrary to Shariah law and is prohibited "except in cases of necessity, especially to save the life of the mother."
Sheema Sen Gupta, head of child protection at UNICEF Somalia, lauded the government's work to ban female circumcision. "There is however a need now to work closely with the religious leaders who have been very supportive of our efforts to end this practice and with community elders to ensure that it is abandoned as soon as possible," she said.
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