In Summary
  • The Puntland state government enacted a Sexual Offences Act in 2016, which criminalised sexual offences and imposed tough penalties.
  • The central government in Mogadishu is still working on adopting Somalia's first-ever national rape laws, with a new Sexual Offences Act adopted by ministers in May 2018. It still needs approval by Parliament.


Somalia has for the first time used DNA evidence to obtain a criminal conviction, sentencing three men to death Sunday for the gang-rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl, the Bureau of Forensic Science said.

The country got its first-ever forensic laboratory in 2017 in the semiautonomous state of Puntland, seeking to tackle widespread sexual violence in a country where two decades of conflict and turmoil have put justice out of reach for most.

The bureau said in a statement that Somalia had "joined, for the first time, the rest of the world in utilising science to solve a heinous criminal case".


In February, the kidnapping of 12-year-old Aisha Ilyas Adan -- who was gang-raped and tortured to death, her body dumped outside her parents home -- sparked outrage and protests in the region.

Human Rights Watch has described rape as "normal" in Somalia, with police often failing to take cases seriously.

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