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Formal and informal justice and punishment:Urban law and rural mediation rituals in Yemen.

Morris, Travis
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) Race and Justice. 1(2):131-153.

For this article, the authors used ethnographic and interview data collected in 2008 to examine restorative justice rituals performed in Yemen. Interviewees explain that, in rural Yemen, police officers defer to local sheikhs to maintain peace in this region. At the same time, these sheikhs sometimes work with government officials to ensure the early release of prisoners who undergo restorative justice mediation rituals. The authors argue that this produced a hybrid model of rural and state justice in which state agents, such as the police, defer to indigenous, customary law to restore order and justice. This allows those living in rural Yemen to choose the conditions under which justice is meted out. The work advances Braithwaite’s theory of restorative justice by focusing on an understudied aspect of restorative justice, which is the tension and cooperation between formal and informal systems. (author’s abstract)


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