Mogadishu, 28 June 2019 – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is harmonising its Boards of Inquiry standard operating procedures (SOPs) to enhance efficiency in investigating critical security incidents occurring in its areas of operation to ensure appropriate compensation is made when required.
The review process will include all components mainly the military, police and civilian units to guarantee that decisions made on critical incidents, involving AMISOM personnel, are based on agreed standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“During the course of AMISOM operations, it has been noted that the constitution and management of the boards of inquiry in general have been faced with various challenges which include, administrative processing delays and application of different SOPs,” said AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. Nakibus Lakara, at a consultative meeting held in Mogadishu, yesterday.
“It is against this backdrop therefore, that this review and harmonisation workshop is taking place in order to develop relevant and all-encompassing SOPs,” Maj. Gen. Lakara added.
According to the United Nations, a Board of Inquiry is an analytical and managerial tool to review investigation reports, establish facts related to critical security incidents involving organisations of the United Nations Security Management System, including whether the incident occurred as a result of the acts or omissions of any individual(s).
AMISOM’s legal officer, Dr. Henry Nampandu, said the workshop will help harmonise the Mission’s compensation standards in accordance with the existing international laws.
“The Boards of Inquiry are administrative managerial tools which we use to investigate serious incidents that occur in the Mission, to establish facts and circumstances under which such events, harmful to Somali citizens or our own staff, occur,” Dr. Nampandu observed.
In the event of an incident that leads to the disability and/or death of personnel and the loss or damage of Mission property or casualties of third parties and the loss of or damage to their property, AMISOM is required to carry out a compensation process through legal provisions encapsulated in the African Union legal and regulatory frameworks.
African Union medical planner, Dr. Achamyelesh Debela, urged the leadership to ensure the SOPs are harmonised, by taking into consideration lessons learned and challenges faced by various components when investigating incidents and compensating those affected.
“In the context of African Union peace support operations which is multi-dimensional, composed of civilian, military and police and has many varieties of different nature incidents and occurrences, it is very important to put all the lessons learnt, challenges, gaps, and achievements together in order to review the existing standard operating procedures regarding the Boards of Inquiry,” said Debela.
Her sentiments were echoed by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Brenda Sindimba, an investigation/Board of Inquiry Officer, who noted that the workshop will review the procedures applied, highlight the gaps and address inconsistencies.
“At the end of the workshop my expectations are that the things that are missing or lacking will be captured and included in the harmonised standard operating procedures,” said ASP Sindimba.
Maj. Emmy Ekyaruhanga, a Board of Inquiry officer at the Force Headquarters, expressed confidence that the workshop will address and review anomalies and inconsistencies in different SOPs applied by the different components of the Mission.
Apart from compensating its personnel, in 2016 AMISOM began a process of making amends to civilians who suffer harm as a result of its operations in the country.