. Abunzi System

. Participation

. Expected benefits

. Further research

. References




"When most sub-Saharan African countries became independent in the 1960s, the majority of African citizens were resolving their disputes using traditional and informal justice forums. Despite their popularity, these forums were regarded as obstacles to development. It was thought that as Africa modernized they would eventually die out. This did not occur. Informal and traditional modes of settling disputes have remained as widespread as ever." [1]

Informal justice systems play an important role in sub-Saharan Africa where they are often the only access people have to justice. They have remained strong partly due to people's preference for them and partly because the formal justice systems have not had the capacity for the volume of cases. Penal Reform International suggests that in rural areas people are more likely to prefer informal justice systems. Additionally, cost and nature of penalties associated with formal courts were mentioned as reasons people find this form of justice preferable. Preference for informal justice is also due to the involvement of the entire community. It is also suggested that consensus and reconciliation, as opposed to "retribution," associated with "Western-style justice," are preferred results, "In most cases, the type of justice they offer – based on reconciliation, compensation, restoration and rehabilitation – is more appropriate to people living in close-knit (multiplex) communities who must rely on continued social and economic cooperation with their neighbours." [1] Taking these characteristics into account we have developed a technological approach in keeping with informal justice system.