David Hammond continues recounting his experiences as a UK representative for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and legal advisor to the European Union (EU) in Somalia for the establishment of the East African Legal Advisory Programme in support of the current EU counter-piracy programme.
In the short period of time the EU team had in both Somaliland and Puntland, I had concentrated rounds of engagements with Ministers for Justice, Attorney Generals, Directors of Public Prosecution and Ministers of Interior and Security to name but a few. Their unified message was reflected in all of our meetings. In addition to the humanitarian assistance provided through the United Nations (UN) and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), further expert support for government departments was required in terms of monitoring, mentoring, training and advisory roles in the maritime and counter-piracy environment. Those departments needed western legal expertise to continue with the advancement of their own domestic legislation, judicial engagement in the lawless coastal areas and development of general legal skills. Consequently, our offers of such assistance were warmly welcomed.