Conflict and Fragility

Customary mediation and engagement in Mali
10 Apr 2018 09:00 - 17:00
Source: Guillaume Colin & Pauline Penot / flickr

Customary mediation in fragile environments: a trajectory for engagement in Mali

This event was organised by Clingendael's Conflict Research Unit (CRU) and the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO), supported by the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law (KPSRL). This event was held in French and English. 

The people of Mali use a vast array of justice mechanisms to resolve their conflicts. Given the weakness and inadequacy of state institutions to provide justice to the Malian people, customary systems are the main justice providers throughout the country. These systems are widely trusted by the people of Mali as they are able to maintain social cohesion. However, customary justice systems are also exposed to increasing challenges.
Considering the retreat of the state apparatus in light of the ongoing conflict, the presence of radical groups pursuing ideological agendas, the deprecation of traditional values, the growing corruption, and the weak relationship between customary and formal justice, this is a timely moment to discuss and evaluate policy engagement with customary systems.
To do so, this full-day event explored opportunities and challenges in operationalising policies in the field of justice reform that envision a greater role for customary authorities. The program was informed by the research of Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit and by IDLO’s work in the field. Experts and practitioners contributed with their expertise on legal pluralism, customary mediation and justice reform. 

Speakers included:

  • Judge Fatoumata D. Diarra, Former Vice-President of the International Criminal Court
  • Cheick Harouna A. Sankaré,Traditional chief and mayor of Ouenkoro(Mopti)
  • Mamadou Ben Chérif Diabaté, Traditional chief and founder of ‘Réseau des Communicaterus Traditionnels pour le développement du Mali’
  • Dr Janine Ubink, President of the Commission on Legal Pluralism and Professor of Law, Governance and Development at Leiden University
  • Diana Goff, Expert on customary justice in Mali and former Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute
  • Elena Ursu, Researcher at the Clingendael Institute