Somaliland: The Moral Bankruptcy of Somalia’s Prime Minister

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By: Ahmed Ali Ibrahim Sabeyse

Somalilandsun – Throughout the history of mankind the teachings of the Holy Prophets emphasized unequivocally the sanctity of the human life. From that back drop, a critical evaluation of Mr. Shirdon’s immunity request regarding the civil case against Mohamed Ali Samatar is in order. Without Prejudice to the parties in the Civil Action No. 04-1360. This case is based on a solid legal ground in conformity with the following International Human Rights Conventions:

The Nuremberg Military Tribunal of 1945

Convention on the Non-applicability of Statute of Limitations on War Crimes

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Convention on Civil and Political Rights

Optional Protocol to the Convention on Civil and Political Rights

Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

Convention against on Torture

Convention against Genocide

Geneva Conventions and subsequent Protocols

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination

The Charter of the United Nations

African Charter on Peoples’ and Human Rights

On the record, General Mohamed Ali Samatar had admitted his role in the atrocities of Somalia’s military government against the civilian population of Somaliland. His orders resulted in the death of over 70,000 non-combatants and by virtue of his position of command and control, he is culpable for any resultant damages under international law.

Granting diplomatic immunity to a mass murderer is a travesty of justice. At his Command post at Hargeisa Airport, General Samatar gave the final instructions on the aerial and artillery bombardment of the city five miles north of the Airport. For three months the Somali air force relentlessly target practiced on this densely populated city and the civilian casualties were very high.

In its 1987 yearbook Amnesty International had documented the scorched earth tactics of Siyad Barre’s regime. Even the life stock did not escape the heavy machine guns of the Somali air force. To this day tens of thousands of Somalilanders are suffering the lingering mental and psychological trauma of the war. While the International Court of Justice has set up special Tribunals for the war criminals of Rwanda and the former Yugoslav Republic, the mass murderers of Somalia are still free waiting to be brought before justice.

Having said that, and in response to the letter of Somalia’s prime minister, here is the first paragraph of the said letter:

“Dear Secretary of State Kerry:

The Federal Republic of Somalia presents its compliments to the Department of State. On behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, I, Abdi Farah Shirdon, Prime Minister of Somalia, have the distinct honor and high privilege, by this letter, of requesting urgently, pursuant to the powers vested in me by the Federal Republic of Somalia Provisional Constitution, adopted 1 August 2012, that you use your good offices to obtain immunity for Mohamed ali Samater, the former Prime Minister of Somalia, from 1987-1990, and the Defense Minister and First Vice President of Somalia, from 1982-1986, in respect of certain civil litigation brought against him before the United States District for the Eastern District of Virginia, styled as Bashe Abdi Yousuf, et alii, versus Mohamed Ali Samatar, Civil Action No. 04-1360(“the litigation”).

From the wording of this paragraph, we can surmise that the original was drafted in Somali and subsequently a literal translation of the text was performed. Therefore, the apparent lack coherence and unity of the central idea.This sort of cumbersome wording is counter productive because the text has lost its original form, fit and function in the translation. Regardless of the subject matter, unity, coherence, and the logical sequence of the ideas are paramount to captivate the intended recipient.

Now, assuming that the following segment is the central idea of this paragraph,

” ..I, Abdi Farah Shirdon, Prime Minister of Somalia, have the distinct honor and high privilege, by this letter, of requesting urgently, pursuant to the powers vested in me by the Federal Republic of Somalia Provisional Constitution, adopted 1 August 2012, that you use your good offices to obtain immunity for Mohamed Ali Samater,…”

the emphasis is on

“..that you use your good offices to obtain immunity for Mohamed Ali Samater,..”.

As it is, this sort of language is very undiplomatic and is indicative of the Somali prime minister’s complete ignorance of international relations. For one thing, influence peddling is a taboo subject in diplomacy.

The honourable Prime Minister of Somalia or the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mr. Abdi Farah Shirdon, as a novice politician needs a lesson or two on the working dynamics of the United States Government and its constitution. Perhaps, the Somali Prime Minister needs to understand that the three branches of the government of the United States of America-The Executive, the Judiciary, and the Legislature operate independently under constitutionally mandated jurisdictional spheres and as such, this is were the concept of checks and balances and transparency comes into play.

Furthermore, any case brought before the courts of the United States takes its course through judicial process without intervention from the other two branches of government. Interceding on behalf of an indictable war criminal is an affront to the norms of civility.

On an intellectual level, the Somali prime minister has a skewed sense of priority and his letter to the United States Secretary of State is nothing but an embodiment of the sublime evil incarnated in a human form.

On another level, the paragraph consists of two sentences. Count the punctuation marks to make any rational sense out of what the Somali Prime minister has to say.There are three full stops/periods, one quotation mark, and eighteen commas! The comma is unfairly overused at the expense of the other thirteen punctuation marks.

To say the least, the eighteen commas in the sentence destroyed the meaning of the paragraph and the American Secretary of State will require the service of an English language professor to decipher the Somali prime minister’s letter.

The prime minister’s letter is nine paragraphs long and the response to the remaining eight paragraphs will follow in installments.

God bless the nation of Somaliland,

Ahmed Ali Ibrahim Sabeyse

February 8, 2013

E. &.O.E

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