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Ground breaking at Mogadishu prison and court complex

Yesterday marked the occasion of the ground breaking at the site of the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex (MPCC) in the Somali capital. Please see the press statement from UNODC below:

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Mogadishu, 16 December, 2015: Today marked the occasion of the ground breaking at the site of the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex (MPCC) in the Somali capital. This is a significant step towards providing the Somali justice system with the infrastructure and resources to conduct trials in a safe and secure environment for both prisoners and judicial staff. When completed, the MPCC will allow for justice to be administered in Mogadishu from a safe environment for judicial staff and prisoners, including high-risk detainees. The facility will also include a 1,000 bed human rights compliant prison that meets international standards.  

The MPCC project is being undertaken in three Phases in partnership with the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), who have produced designs for the facility, tendered and will be overseeing construction on behalf of UNODC. With a very substantial project value, this is perhaps the largest infrastructure development project ever undertaken in the country, and follows on from UNODC’s success in the rehabilitation of Hargeisa Prison and the opening of a new 500- bed Prison in Garowe in April 2014.

The construction of the MPCC is a key component of UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP), which was launched in 2009 to support the trials of piracy suspects in Eastern Africa. As the programme expanded, it became necessary to branch out into prison development and mentoring in order to provide humane detention facilities for pirates convicted in 3rd party states and transferred to Somalia to serve sentences in their home country as part of the GMCP developed Piracy Prosecution Model.

The MPCC will be the most advanced and secure facility in the region. It is specifically designed to cater to the Ministry of Justice’s need to hold a significant medium to high risk prisoner population near a civilian, secure court to reduce the need for prisoner transportation through the city which exposes both prisoners and custodial corps staff to risks of attack. The facility also needed to include secure accommodation for judicial staff as these have been subject to targeted attacks in the city.

Phase 1 of the project will secure the site, complete the court complex, and a 200 bed high security prison block to house high risk offenders both pre and post-conviction. The high security block will also allow detainees to be separated from the general prison population at Mogadishu Central Prison, creating a safer environment for all inmates and diminishing the risk of radicalisation within the Central Prison. Phase 1 will also see the refurbishment of the Custodial Corps HQ building and the introduction of a Prison Academy into it.

It is expected that trials can run from early-2017. Phase 2 of the MPCC project will increase prison capacity for the general prison population by an additional 600 beds and introduce industries and vocational training areas. Phase 3 will increase capacity by a further 200 beds and support the self-implementation of new staff accommodation. The full construction project is expected to be completed in early 2018.

A comprehensive training programme for judges, prosecutors, and court officials will run in parallel to the construction project. This will include training in the conduct of serious criminal cases. Training will also be provided to corrections officers in basic security operations and human rights, as well as Dynamic Security and Countering Violent Extremism. 

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NOTES:

1. The Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex Project is supported with funding from Denmark, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Somalia.
2. UNODC GMCP continues its training and mentoring roles at its supported prisons in Hargeisa, Somaliland and Garowe, Puntland through the provision of four prison experts to assist Custodial Corps management in the day to day operations of prisons, as well as mentoring to Commissioners and Minsters on defining and implementing strategic correctional objectives.