База данных по гендерной проблематике и правам на землю


Традиционные органы власти и общепринятые учреждения

Customary norms are enforced and administered by traditional courts presided over by local chiefs. Alongside these there are the so-called “community courts” presided over by local elected judges and which were established by the State to alleviate the state courts.

The community courts’ mission is to deal with small cases with the recourse to equity and common sense rules and with the objective of alleviating the state courts. Thus, while traditional courts apply the customary law and the state courts the statutory law, community courts apply equity and common sense rules (9). Their competence is officially recognised under Article 223(2) of the 2004 constitution.

Due to complex and often overlapping community structures, the question of who holds power at the local level remains unresolved. Depending on the local history and kinship systems, there are multiple traditional authorities, regulos, including heads of lineages and religious authorities, who are in charge of allocating land and reviving traditional ceremonies, such as initiation rites (13).

Traditional chiefs have legitimacy on religious and lineage grounds and act as mediators between a given ethnic group and its environment. Overall, the main function of the local chiefs is to establish peace and harmony within the rural communities and, more specifically, to resolve land conflicts and regulate access to land (19).

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