AMU hosts global workshop on ‘legal pluralism’ in Jinka on Jan. 4

Arba Minch University hosted an international workshop themed - ‘Legal pluralism in Ethiopia and beyond,’ at South Omo Research Centre at Jinka on 4th January, 2018. Researchers from across Ethiopia, Germany and Australia presented their views over the issues. Click here to see the pictures.

AMU’s Academic Affairs Vice President, Dr Yechale Kebede, opening the workshop, said, ‘‘We have innumerable coinciding commonalities that we share historically, culturally, socially and economically among the people of Gamo Gofa, South Omo and surrounding catchment. And we expect to create an exemplary platform to work and exploit these potentials for the betterment of two universities and society at large. A mechanism will be devised to collaborate in education, training, research, scholarly exchange and resource sharing and this conference would certainly be an eye-opener to take the way forward.’’

The workshop was jointly organized by Jinka University, AMU (South Omo Research Center) and Frobenious Institute, Frankfurt University. Participants from Addis Ababa, Jimma and Ethiopian Civil Service universities of Ethiopia, Melbourne University of Australia, Bayreuth University, Max Plank Institute and Mainz University of Germany have presented their varied standpoints.

Dr Susanne Epple, a senior researcher of Frobenious Institute, Frankfurt University, welcoming audience said, ‘‘We meant to contribute to the existing literature on Ethiopia; while there are many studies on customary conflict resolution, wherein not much has been done on the co-existence of several legal systems i.e. state, customary, and religious law and how actually people deal with it. We are interested in the real experience of local people, their interests and concerns, but also of legal practitioners as well as policy makers and the challenges they face.’’

She further adds, the exchange between anthropology and law will help achieve comprehensive understanding of issues related to legal pluralism, and what is actually going on in many parts of the country. The results of this endeavor will also give valuable insights to policy makers.

Jinka University President, Prof Gebre Yintso, lauding the endeavor said Jinka University needs support from the first generation university like AMU and assured his commitment to work with both national and international institutions. Legal pluralism refers to existence of more than one legal order governing life and this workshop has cleverly explained the interplay between international, national and customary laws in Ethiopia and beyond.

Dr Getachew Assefa of Addis Ababa University opined that state law should be flexible to accommodate customary institutions for conflict resolution. And he adds that workshop showed the Constitutional Legal Space for non-formal legal systems in Ethiopia. He called upon formal state and customary law professionals to work closely to bring positive impact on Ethiopian Legal system.

While, AMU presenter, Mr Temechegn Gutu, dwelling into ‘The Handling of Homicide Cases in the Context of Legal Pluralism,’ stressed that his findings focusing attention given to the reconciliation between accused and victim’s side in the customary dispute settlement process that make an indispensible contribution in maintaining peace and harmony in the community.

The workshop saw presentation of 14 papers focusing on broad spectrum of related topics; eminent citizens from different walks of life, legal experts and others were in attendance.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)