Mediating Criminal Matters in Ethiopian Criminal Justice System: The prospect of Restorative Justice
In Ethiopia, the use of mediation process as a traditional method of dispute resolution has been practiced for centuries. Even today in rural areas, particularly criminal dispute resolution processes dealing with victims and criminal offenders are widely practiced and deep rooted with varying degrees among the different ethnic groups in the country. For instance, the use of mediation process through Jaarsaa Biyya or Jaarsaa Araara among the Oromo and the other ethnic groups has been used. However, despite the potential applicability of these institutions as an Alternative criminal Dispute Resolution process in the local community, it has not yet attained any significant position of usage and acceptance in the formal criminal justice system. In other words, despite its wide practice and importance in resolving criminal disputes, Ethiopian formal criminal justice system failed to integrate mediation process as an alternative criminal dispute resolution process.
This paper is to deal with interrelated issues of integrating mediation process as a criminal dispute resolution program into the formal criminal justice system, and its importance in consolidation of the ideas of restorative justice in the administration of Ethiopian Criminal justice system. The paper also aims to provoke legislatures, policy makers and social workers to work towards promoting, adapting and applying compatible traditional criminal dispute resolution process in a criminal justice context as part of an overall package of Ethiopian Criminal Justice Reform.
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