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n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - Ethiopian customary dispute resolution mechanisms : forms of restorative justice?

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-6997

Abstract

The customary dispute resolution mechanisms of Ethiopia are playing an important role in resolving crimes of any kind and maintaining peace and stability in the community though they are not recognised by law and not properly organised. The customary dispute resolution mechanisms are run by elders; involve reconciliation of the conflicting parties and their respective families using different customary rituals where needed; emphasise the restitution of victims and reintegration of offenders; and aim at restoring the previous peaceful relationship within the community as well as maintaining their future peaceful relationships by avoiding the culturally accepted practices of revenge. However, despite the fact that Ethiopia's indigenous knowledge base of customary justice practice has the enormous advantage of implementing the ideals of restorative justice, restorative justice has not yet taken root in the criminal justice system of Ethiopia. This article examines the legal, , and factual, , jurisdictions of Ethiopian customary dispute resolution mechanisms in resolving criminal matters, and explores whether they are compatible with the core values and principles of restorative justice. Based on the analysis of the relevant legislations, literature in restorative justice and customary dispute resolution mechanisms, and interviews, it is found that Ethiopian customary dispute resolution mechanisms are compatible with the values and principles of restorative justice. Hence, it is argued that the customary mechanisms of Ethiopia can be used as a basis to develop restorative justice programmes if they are properly institutionalised and sufficient legal recognition is provided for their functioning.

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/content/accordr/14/1/EJC156248
2014-01-01
2019-11-22

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