On video: Voices on traditional justice from the Geneva Forum 2017

Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo, Karabo Ozah and Charles Dinda talk about traditional justice systems in video interviews recorded at the 2017 ICJ Geneva Forum.

Dr. Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo, Lawyer and Professor at the Law Faculty of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and founding member of the International Institute on Law and Society (IIDS), describes the survival and contemporary recognition of justice systems of indigenous peoples in the Americas, despite the history of colonial domination.

She argues that indigenous justice systems often already reflect many international human rights standards, and where there may be discrepancies change should be sought through respectful engagement and consultation rather than coercive imposition.

In contrast, Ms Karabo Ozah, Deputy Director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, argues that it is crucially important to ensure that customary and traditional courts respect domestic legislation and international standards on human rights.

Otherwise she warns, based on her experience, customary courts too frequently fail to protect the rights of marginalized groups, children, LGBTI, and women.

Charles Dinda, Senior Legal Adviser with the Danish Institute for Human Rights in Zambia, points out that while traditional and customary justice institutions are the most easily accessible and in many respects most credible institutions for some populations, their decisions are too often inconsistent or unfair.

To avoid this, he insists on the importance of understanding and studying the way these systems operate and on the need to engage with them to learn about their practices and to build their capacities so that they have better knowledge of international human rights standards and indeed of the national laws in the countries where they operate.

Watch the interview with Dr. Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo

Watch the interview with Karabo Ozah

Watch the interview with Charles Dinda


The views expressed by the participants do not necessarily reflect those of the ICJ.

For more information about the 2017 Geneva Forum on Customary and Traditional Justice Systems, click here or contact matt.pollard(a)icj.org .

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