Back to RJ Archive

The illusion of transformative conflict resolution: Mediating domestic violence in Nicaragua.

June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Buffalo Law Review. 55(4): 1261-1330.

In this article, we examine the implementation of mediation in domestic violence cases in Nicaragua
as a case study of the transnational movement of alternative conflict resolution through rule-of-law
reforms across the world. Unlike scholarship about mediation in the United States, the effects of
mediation’s global implementation are undertheorized. This article examines the importation of U.S.
style mediation and its implementation in domestic violence situations in developing countries such
as Nicaragua where traditional legal systems are weaker than those institutionalized in the United
States. In particular, we evaluate mediation as applied in Mulukukú, an isolated community in the
rural north central part of the country. We reflect upon the community motivations and external
influences bringing mediation to Mulukukú. We analyze these issues in order to foster a better
understanding of how such a community can more effectively own and implement its dispute
resolution processes. We argue in this article that Mulukukú’s mediation experience suffers from
many pitfalls both in its conception and as implemented. At the same time, we believe that the model
may provide a vehicle that can incorporate the community’s already-existing informal mediation
methods. We, therefore, offer insights gleaned from the experiences of domestic violence victim
advocates in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Principally, we aim to inform Nicaraguans about
how best to own and adapt mediation to their cultural and societal needs. This exploration is
particularly timely given the increasing skepticism of the transformation claims surrounding
mediation and the growing realization in Nicaragua that mediation in domestic violence cases carries
potential dangers to victims. (Author’s abstract)


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now