Finding Justice Amidst Insecurity: Policy Initiatives to Strengthen Customary Justice Systems and Mitigate Conflicts in Mali
Insecurity in Central Mali intensifies as radical armed groups compete for territorial control against the Malian army and its international allies. Hidden behind the ongoing armed conﬂict, the central region of Mopti is also plagued by land disputes and contested grazing and watering rights. The potential of these disputes to feed into the broader conﬂict is underestimated by the international community, which has not prioritised mediating in these conﬂicts. Yet, local disputes over resources are not merely individual matters, but rather, as this policy brief will show, destabilising factors for entire communities.
These contentions should therefore be awarded a more prominent place in addressing conﬂict dynamics in Central Mali. This could be achieved by strengthening customary justice systems, which are the main, if not the sole, form of justice accessible to most Malians. These systems could serve as an entry point to mitigating these ongoing conﬂicts through their ability to mediate in local disputes.
This policy brief provides recommendations for the reinvigoration of these justice systems that could effectively contribute to the diminution of violence and strengthen good governance in the region.