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Somalia does not have detailed counterterrorism provisions in its national law. The death penalty is imposable for certain criminal offences, including those committed by members of al-Shabaab who are judged by military courts. A revised Criminal Code was expected to be concluded in 2023.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Somalia's 2016 Financing of Terrorism Act defines a "terrorist act" as follows:

1. An act, which constitutes an offence within the scope of, and as defined in any one of the treaties listed in the annex to the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism; and

2. Any other act that is intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking any active part in hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.Art. 1, 2016 Financing of Terrorism Act.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Somalia is not a State Party to the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State not party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State not party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State not party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention Signatory
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party


Somalia is also not a State Party to the main regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention Signatory
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention Signatory

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The death penalty can be imposed for terrorist offences under Somali law. Many members of al-Shabaab have been executed after a trial in military court. 

A revised Criminal Code, long awaited, was expected to be adopted by the Parliament in the course of 2023.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

Somalia has counterterrorism capacity in its army, which is confronting the major threat from al-Shabaab. In 2020, according to the United States Department of State, the Somali Police Force increased its capacity to anticipate, investigate, and support the prosecution of terrorism cases. 

In 2022, the UN Committee against Torture asked Somalia about reports of secret prisons run by the National Intelligence and Security Agency in the context of counterterrorism, and allegations of the use of torture in those detention facilities and also by the Somali National Army’s Special Forces.


Somalia 2016 Financing of Terrorism Act (English version)