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Working towards restorative justice in Ethiopia: Integrating traditional conflict resolution systems with the formal legal system.

Macfarlane, Julie
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. 8:487-509.

This paper considers how the multiple realities of dispute resolution
in any environment affect the work of conflict resolution
practitioners. Conflict resolution practitioners are almost always
invited in by representatives of the formal legal system, and their
work generally focuses on managing – and perhaps reforming –
this system. In practice, they cannot ignore the existence of parallel informal systems of conflict resolution that may undermine or
distract from the formal state system. These may include structured
alternatives to law, such as religious tribunals or community
mediation programs. There may be other, more informal but
equally significant family or community-based processes which
provide their own social order outside the legal system. Whatever
form an informal system takes, it is a mistake to overlook or underestimate
its impact on the formal legal process and any reforms or
innovations planned there. Whether invited to assess existing systems,
or to develop new processes or models, practitioners and
consultants often find themselves mediating between formal and
informal systems already in place. (excerpt)


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