Somali prime minister Omar Abdirashid on Thursday laid the first stone for the construction of a new Court and Police Complex (MPCC) In Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia.
The MPCC project is a key component of the Global Maritime Crime Programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which was originally launched in 2009 to provide support for the trials of piracy suspects in east Africa.
“This is not going to be only a punishing facility, it will serve as a correctional facility so that the offenders can reintegrate back to the community. We hope the construction of this facility will strengthen the course of justice and tackle extremism,” Prime Minister Sharmarke said in his remarks during the foundation stone laying ceremony.
Trials of high-risk suspects are projected to begin by the middle of 2017. When complete, the complex will provide accommodation for suspects and inmates near secure courthouse facilities to reduce the need to transport prisoners through Mogadishu, which exposes them and corrections officers to risks of violent attacks.
“The foundation of the new grand complex of Mogadishu is a major investment of the United Nations rule of law in Somalia. This first phase of the grand complex is going to be ready in the next twelve months, and judges and prosecutors will be able to handle proper trials in proper facilities,” explained Mr. José Vila del Castillo, the East Africa Regional Representative of UNODC.
The UN Office for Project Services produced designs for the facility in consultation with UNODC and is overseeing construction of the MPCC, which is expected to be completed by early 2018. In its finished state, the prison will be equipped with 1,000 beds and meet international human rights standards. Three medium-security cell-blocks will be erected during the third and fourth phases of construction.
Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UNODC added, “Through this important project, we are helping the people of Somalia rebuild much needed institutions that respect and promote the rule of law and tackle damaging terrorism and organized crime.”
Mr. Fedotov thanked the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for funding the construction of the MPCC, along with the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
The project is being undertaken within the structure of the Somali Joint Rule of Law Programme under the Somali New Deal Compact’s peace- and state-building goal 3 that focuses on justice issues.
This is expected to significantly reduce current overcrowding in Mogadishu’s jails.
The event took place at the headquarters of Somali custodial corps during the ceremony the 46th anniversary of formation of the custodial corps.