The Courts of "Absolute Power"
Fair Trial Violations by Somalia’s Military Court
May 21, 2014
The 33-page report documents violations of basic fair trial rights of defendants tried before military courts, including military personnel, suspected insurgents and supporters, police officers, and ordinary civilians. Human Rights Watch interviewed over 30 defendants and their relatives as well as military court officials, lawyers, and legal experts. They described how military court proceedings restrict defendants’ rights to obtain counsel of their choice, prepare and present a defense, receive a public hearing, not incriminate themselves, and appeal a conviction to a higher court. More than a dozen of those convicted over the last year have been sentenced to death and executed, magnifying the harm to basic rights.