Conflict and Fragility

Reports and papers

From the struggle for citizenship to the fragmentation of justice, Yemen from 1990 to 2013

31 Jan 2014 - 17:00
Source: Murad Sobay CC at

About half of all Yemenis have no access to formal legal remedies. The other half can still look to tribal customary law but its legitimacy and reach are subject to significant pressure. Social status increasingly matters in securing justice—in many places defined at gunpoint.

This situation is largely the result of conscious efforts by Yemen’s ruling elites over the past 20-odd years to capture and marginalize the legal mechanisms that could have been used to challenge their rule.

The result is that a large number of disputes have remained unresolved and many of these disputes have become grievances. Some of these grievances have been collectivized, turned violent, and contributed to an increase in sectarian politics.

In this report, senior research fellow Erwin van Veen of Clingendael's Conflict Research Unit analyzes Yemen’s ‘state of justice’, its impact on violence and offers six entry points for improvement.

For an executive summary in Arabic, please follow this link (pdf).