Customary and Indigenous Law in Transitional Post-Conflict States: A South Sudanese Case Study
journal contributionposted on 29.10.2019, 08:24 by Alexander P Danne
Post-conflict societies and transitional states, including those in our region the Pacific, are increasingly seen as fertile ground for the imposition of externally designed legal systems. Imposition can occur as a result of NGO advocacy, the transposition of 'ready made' legal systems by the international civil society or by supra-national and international organisations. Not only is the existence of local customary legal system.s often ignored during this process, but the strengths and inherent infrastructure of customary systems are often not capitalised on during the implementation phase of the new system, ultimately to the detriment of the state's legal system. The result of these,failures is that establishment of law and order proves more elusive than it otherwise could be. Customary and traditional legal systems, in their many varied,fbrms, continue to provide a source of social stability and a basis on which indigenous legal development could occur in numerous post-conflict and transitional states around the world. Additionally, customary law al.so,functions as a central element of peoples' cultural integrity and heritage. By using transitional South Sudan as a research case study, important lessons are brought to the fore about the advantages and importance of both acknowledging and building on existing local legal systems in transitional states. Customary legal systems can potentially provide a key avenue through which to expedite rule of law and judicial development in post-conflict and transitional states. Insights into this process are provided by an examination ofthe interfaces in South Sudan between local customary legal systems, nascent statutory regimes und internationally promoted human rights standards.