Traditional courts and the struggle against state impunity for civil wartime offences in Mozambique

Igreja, Victor (2010) Traditional courts and the struggle against state impunity for civil wartime offences in Mozambique. Journal of African Law, 54 (1). pp. 51-73. ISSN 0021-8553


In the Mozambican context of the state amnesty for civil war crimes, war survivors have used their local ethics of reciprocity to create justice. This article analyses how survivors have attempted to persuade judges in traditional courts to adjudicate in serious wartime disputes. These judges, who have no official mandate to redress wartime offences, tried to preserve the conflicting interests of the litigants and the state. This positioning, coupled with the fact that the local ethics of reciprocity are embedded in uneven power and gender relations, resulted in some cases being adjudicated and others not, and in some disputes receiving no gender justice. Nevertheless, some of the interventions indicate that national and international institutions of justice are not the only ones engaged in the struggle against impunity for wartime crimes. In Mozambique, specific attention must be paid to the study of traditional justice mechanisms as fonts of redress for wartime crimes and for the long-term contribution they can make.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2017 04:00
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 02:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mozambique: amnesty; civil war crimes; judges; courts; wartime disputes; wartime offences
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1899 Other Law and Legal Studies > 189999 Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940499 Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1017/S0021855309990167

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