Anca-Elena Ursu
Local governance; Migration

Finding Justice Amidst Insecurity: Policy Initiatives to Strengthen Customary Justice Systems and Mitigate Conflicts in Mali

Conflict Research Unit of Clingendael Institute

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.

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Anca-Elena Ursu
Local governance; Migration
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