Politics of Justice, Human Rights and Reconciliation in the Collapsed State of Somalia

Ahmed Khayre


For societies emerging from repressive regimes or violent conflict, finding an appropriate approach to deal with past gross and flagrant abuses of human rights have been dauntingly challenging. Undoubtedly, the situation is much more precarious and complex in totally collapsed states where there is no functioning central authority. By and large, most studies on accountability mechanisms for past human rights violations focus on the situations of transition from repressive regimes to democracy. In consequence, the questions and different challenges emanating from on-going violent conflicts in collapsed States, and the role of criminal accountability in those situations are not sufficiently examined. In view of that, the focus of this article is to investigate the role that transitional justice can play in the protection and promotion of human rights in collapsed states like Somalia. Furthermore, this article also examines the intrinsic interplay between politics, human rights, peace, justice and reconciliation in such situations. Finally, the article suggests that instead of a haphazard application of accountability mechanisms that often exacerbate the situation, what is imperative is a policy that takes past atrocities into account and devises mechanisms geared towards both dealing with the past and preparing for future stability.


Somalia, Transitional Justice, Judicial Prosecution, Truth Commission, Collapsed State, Failed State, International Criminal Law, Human Rights

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Copyright (c) 2016 Ahmed Khayre

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