Last updated: June 2022
At the peak of its territorial control, Al-Shabaab established functional ministries and administrations. As of 2014, Al-Shabaab maintained several ministries such as the interior ministry, the information ministry, the justice ministry with judges in each region.
There is no functional formal judicial system in Al-Shabaab-controlled areas. Al-Shabaab has established courts in the territory under its control, as well as beyond it, through the introduction of mobile courts, including in Mogadishu. These courts implement the Sharia law in its strictest form leading to executions and corporal punishments.
Many people in Somalia who live in government or state-controlled territory seek justice by going to Sharia law courts run by Al-Shabaab due to its ability to enforce its decisions. The majority of cases dealt by Al-Shabaab courts are civil and, among these, mostly related to land or business disputes.
Al-Shabaab carried out arbitrary arrests on the basis of questionable or false accusations. Its courts did not permit legal representation or appeals and the group administered justice without consulting the victims or taking into account the broader circumstances of an offence.
The lack of due process and the nature of the punishments would not qualify the parallel justice mechanism operated by Al-Shabaab as a legitimate form of protection. Further taking into account its record of human rights violations, it can be concluded that Al-Shabaab does not qualify as an actor of protection who is able to provide effective, non-temporary and accessible protection.