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Kelley, Thomas A.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) George Washington International Law Review 39:321ff

As they wait for the Sarkin and the marabout to proceed, they hold the reeds between their chests, forming a rectangle
in which the reeds are parallel to one another, about eight inches apart. … The Washington Legal Consensus in
General The primary impetus for Niger’s current state law reform project comes from the Washington Legal Consensus.
… The legal part of the Consensus requires poor countries to reform their laws as a means of permitting the prosperity
promised by the Consensus economic policies. … In most fundamental respects, these [*331] newly reformed laws are
like the laws of the United States and Western Europe: they emphasize the protection of individual rights, due process,
rational proof, and the individual punishment and deterrence of anti-social acts. … Such enforcement is not possible,
reformers contend, unless the country’s irrational and unpredictable legal traditions, such as reliance on the gon oracle,
are eliminated. … It also means that people believe that they can and should rely on oracles such as the gon, which are
only nominally Islamic, to resolve certain kinds of legal disputes. … Sarkin of Zongo Two principal actors animate the
Zongo gon: the Sarkin of Zongo and the Zongo marabout. … Instead, the accuser utilized various traditional channels of
dispute resolution, consulting with family elders, traditional community leaders, and finally the Zongo gon oracle. …
The gon succeeds in restoring order and harmony to Nigeriens’ families and communities in part because it renders justice
quickly. … In the realm of petty theft, for example, most Nigeriens would wonder how the state system could possibly
be confident in identifying the wrongdoer without consulting the spiritual realm. (Excerpt from Author)


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