TOPICS: Indigenous Conflict Resolution Methods, South China Sea, Counter-Terrorism Policies, Business Dispute Resolution, Ethnic Cleansing
Christian Chereji and Ciprian Sandu
ARTICLES in Issue 39 – April 2022:
Ethiopia: Bertussa, the Indigenous Governance and Conflict Resolution Mechanism of the Sheko Community
Wasihun Bezabih BEKELE, Ehadig Geda GODA & Admasu Adraro AKAKO
Conflict is an inevitable phenomenon in human relationships. Cognizant of the inevitability of conflict in human interaction, the most important issue needed to be emphasized is the way how conϐlict can be resolved before it becomes violent and destructive. The objective of this study is to explore “bertussa”, the indigenous governance and conflict resolution mechanism of the Sheko community of Ethiopia. According to the objective, the study followed a qualitative research approach and used a case study research design. Data were collected through key informant interviews and FGD. A deductive thematic analysis technique was used to analyze data. The study found that the bertussa institution is the well-respected institution of conflict resolution playing an irreplaceable role in maintaining peace and social cohesion. Bertussa is hierarchical in its structure and it includes the Koynab (the King) at the top, Komtu. (Clan leaders), and, at the bottom, socially respected individuals called Yab babu (local elders). In the tradition of the Sheko community, conflicts that are believed to be less violent are settled at the yab babu (local elders) level. Whereas, reconciliation of homicide issues and conflicts which are serious and complex are mostly addressed by the komtu (clan leaders) with the help of a person known as burjab who is believed to have spiritual power. In the Sheko community, the reconciliation process ends with the performance of symbolic ceremonial practices which imply the healing of the discontent among the disputants. Though this institution has strong acceptance from the community, it lacks due focus from the local government and it is not formally recognized.
Koynab, burjab, reconciliation, sheko, conflict resolution, indigenous.
South China Sea: Asymmetric Conflicts. The Role of Chinese Paramilitary Forces
A new way in which China has tried to expand its control over the South China Sea for the past decade has been to engage paramilitary forces in its territorial disputes. These forces acted as auxiliary devices for the People`s Liberation Army, applying tactics specific to asymmetric conflicts, such as rapid and low-intensity attacks on foreign ships. The leading role was assumed by the People`s Armed Forces Maritime Militia, a structure made up of civilian personnel with military training and ϐishing vessels equipped with surveillance technology. These actions are part of China’s strategy to attribute its maritime aggression to civilian entities to hinder possible military responses from other countries and in particular from the United States. Using collective case studies, this article illustrated the dynamics of the coercive activities of the Chinese naval forces and the inability of affected states to deal with these unconventional threats.
South China Sea, asymmetric conflicts, paramilitary forces, maritime aggression, People’s Republic of China.
Tajikistan: An Evaluation of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Policies Since Independence
Tajikistan, a country overloaded with the horriϐic memory of bloody civil war, an increasingly devastated economy, and the ineradicable misfortune of having long borders with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, has been reigning consistently by the Emomali Rahmon’s regime for three decades with wide-scale surveillance and draconian acts. Taking advantage of the weak governance, poor military infrastructure and porous border, Islamic extremists and cross border terrorist groups have also been seen persistently deepening their influence in the region either by perpetrating a series of terrorist activities in the terrain or joining Tajik national into their organizations. This paper presents a detailed analysis of how and to what extent terrorism has posed security threats to Tajikistan through examining the Global Terrorism Database and RAND database that includes the numbers and intensity of the terrorist incidents in the territory since independence. It systematically analyses the prominent terrorist groups and, more particularly, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which has widened its network in the region. The paper also makes a sincere effort to evaluate the counter-terrorism acts adopted and implemented by Tajikistan. Moreover, the article also examines how the Tajik’s authority constructs state discourse on terrorism by delegitimising social acceptance of the terrorist on the one hand and projecting the state as the severe victim of terrorism on the other.
Terrorism, Tajikistan, Terrorist Attacks, Counter-terrorism Act, Taliban.
Zimbabwe: Critiquing the Challenges of Cultural and Religious Concepts Such as Ubuntu and the “Forgive and Forget” Approach to the Gukurahundi Genocide
This article explores the challenges which emanate from the discourse of reconciliation in Zimbabwe as it relates to the Gukurahundi atrocities of the post-independence Zimbabwean era. Since most of the efforts to address this nation’s ugly past have been influenced mainly by cultural (African) and religious (Christian) concepts such as the Bantu concept of Ubuntu and the Christian religion approach to conϐlict resolution which is based on the “forgive and forget” concept, this article will critique these concepts, demonstrating their unviability in bringing reconciliation in Zimbabwe. The article argues that without legal frameworks which can facilitate justice as a primary vehicle to reconciliation, the cultural and religious approaches may not make much impact in reconciliation efforts in Zimbabwe. For instance, it is not clear how the cultural concept of Ubuntu/ Unhu should be implemented to establish a formal and structured way of dealing with the issue of Gukurahundi. Among other issues of concern, the “forgive and forget” approach also poses its own problems, one of them being a too simple and casual approach to a much disturbing issue which has affected thousands of lives up to this day. With the aid of an example of how the post-World War II West Germany under the leadership of Willy Brandt addressed the issue of reconciliation and the history of holocaust, this article argues that justice should be the primary vehicle of the transition to reconciliation.
Gukurahundi, Zimbabwe, Ubuntu, conflict resolution
Dispute Resolution on Blockchain: An Opportunity to Increase Efficiency of Business Dispute Resolution?
Shantanu PACHAHARA & Chandan MAHESHWARI
With the advent of blockchain technology and smart contracts, the finance, business, and legal industries have witnessed a drastic shift in their modus operandi. A smart contract does not necessarily mean and include a legally binding contract as it is under the legal regime but is instead a computer software built on blockchain technology, which is competent to self-execute its functions, as well as self-enforce its results. Smart contracts with the help of complex algorithms have raised the efϐiciency of conducting business online. Consequently, disputes pertaining to smart contracts have also increased. The utilization of smart contracts in the legal industry has assisted businesses in maintaining the efficiency gained in the initial phase of the process and resolving their smart contract and/or other disputes expeditiously. The pivotal question that knocks on our door is whether a decision rendered by an autonomous computer program is binding on the parties, speciϐically an award rendered in a smart contract arbitration? This article explores rudimentary knowledge pertaining to blockchain and smart contracts, and analyses the validity of smart contract dispute resolution mechanisms, and their role in enhancing business dispute resolution efficiency. Lastly, it sheds light on the legitimacy of smart contract arbitration under the international conventions which regulate international commercial arbitration.
Dispute resolution, Blockchain, Smart contract arbitration, Efficiency, Legitimacy.
Myanmar: Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya. From Ethnic Nationalism to Ethno-Religious Nationalism
Ahmad SABBIR, Abdulla Al MAHMUD & Arif BILGIN
Rohingya, an ethnic minority group in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, has been levelled as one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in contemporary time. For the last five decades, they have been undergoing systematic torture ranging from deprivation of citizenship to mass killing and forceful eviction from their inhabitants. The army of Myanmar spearheads this persecution, which is deemed as genocidal. However, the engagement of radical Buddhist groups and support from the local Burmese population worsened the situation. Along with army intervention and ethnic differences, some economic and geostrategic question is highlighted behind this inhuman situation. But Myanmar consists of more than 100 ethnic groups, and there are other similar areas with similar economic and geostrategic importance. Though there are several instances of conflict in some of those areas, they are almost unparalleled comparing that of the Rakhine state. Having acknowledged the multiple genealogies of this conflict, this paper focuses more on the state/nation building process of Myanmar to understand the exceptionalism of Rohingya persecution. We want to argue that rather than ethnic tension or geostrategic interest, the nation/state-building of Myanmar in different phases of its history can put more light on the unique suffering of the Rohingya population in Myanmar. Analyzing the key historical transition of Myanmar, we attempt to trace the gradual exclusivity of the Rohingya people in the evolution of State manufactured discourse on the question of nation and their deliberate enactment of speciϐic identity while alienating the other.
Rohingya, Myanmar, Nationalism, Identity, State/Nation-Building