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Barazas bring justice to South Kivu

  • Published

    7 March 2012
  • Written by

    Peace Direct

In war-torn DR Congo access to justice is hard to find. Official law courts are expensive and difficult to access. Unresolved disputes can easily escalate into violence with far-reaching effects.

Flory Kazingufu, our partner in South Kivu, is building a network of traditional local courts, or barazas, so that local people can seek justice and disputes can be mediated peacefully. Anyone in the village can seek justice from the barazas, which aim to find solutions that benefit everyone.

In one case brought to the baraza, cows destroyed a field owned by the wife of the village chief. The wife was very angry and wanted to retaliate but instead the chief told the baraza about the problem.

The court brought the cows’ owner and the wife together to sit and drink. At first the chief’s wife would not forgive the owner but after they talked a while she agreed that if her fence was fixed she would be happy. Violence was averted and peace has returned to the village.

A villager said ‘The baraza is important for us because we have disputes about children, about land. When we can resolve our own disputes, then peace will come.’

Flory aims to extend the network of local courts to eventually create 90 barazas to cover the whole region.

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