University of Khartoum

Ensuring Security between Pastoralists Tribes and Prevention of Crimes

Ensuring Security between Pastoralists Tribes and Prevention of Crimes

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Title: Ensuring Security between Pastoralists Tribes and Prevention of Crimes
Author: Alsuni, Banaga
Abstract: • The above document is a memorandum obtained from the Sudan National Archive. It was discussed in a forum on 'Promotion of Community Affairs' held between 2-5 September 1963 in collaboration with the ‘Community Development Centre’ and the National Committee of UNSECO at the Ministry of Education to discuss the issue of 'Pastoralists Settlement'. The report clearly states that in order to prevent crimes effectively it is important to understand tribal communities in Sudan so as to apply certain standards to them. The report further states that the prevailing and respected laws of tribal communities are those laws which applied by native courts and enacted during the colonial era. These laws mainly derived from customs and traditions and tailored towards realization of justice and peace between various tribes. During the 1920th some laws and regulations were enacted and put in place to regulate the powers of native courts and tribal leaders such as Omdas and Nazirs, particularly those aspects related to the maintenance of security. These laws were also incorporated as part of the Sudan laws. • Tribal Structures antithetical to Justice? The report raises a fundamental question: can the laws of the native courts and tribal structures realize justice as provided for by the legislators? In answering this question the report has focused on two main issues. First, the inherent nature and composition of tribal communities as antithetical to the idea of justice which makes it extremely difficult to be realized. At the head of the tribal system is the Sheikh of the tribe; a key figure in the tribal structure or institution. The report critically states that he concentrates in his hand all judicial and administrative powers and further supported and surrounded by his cousins and close relatives who have close blood ties, and as a result, all judicial and administrative powers concentrated in their hands. The report argues that tribal relations are also complicated as various clans and sub-clans normally have their own internal feuds. For example, some clans have staunch and traditional opponents. In this context it is difficult for tribal leaders to ensure justice and apply it in a neural and transparent manner. • Secondly, the report argues that tribal Sheiks normally involved in disputes with other tribes over pastures, land and water resources and they may end up abusing their powers. The report argues that legislators at the time put in place certain legal guarantees such as right of appeal which restricts those who enjoy judicial and administrative powers from abusing their powers. Nevertheless, these guarantees or measures may not ensure justice as some harmful tribal practices are considered as repugnant or not in harmony with the fundamentals of justice and hence present a real challenge. The author of the report argues that from his practical experience and involvement with various tribes he noticed that individual victims normally do not press charges or appeal against court verdicts as such appeals seen by members of the tribe as a stigma and therefore it is better to keep silent despite bitter and ill feelings of injustice. Those individuals who have the desire to lodge an appeal may also be regarded as not observing the customs and traditions of the tribe and become outcasts. Conversely, those who appeal are not more than one out of ten individuals. Thus, this reality of traditional tribal communities severely affects justice and these issues deserve careful thoughts and quite reflections. • Criminal Responsibility: the report argues tribal justice tends to imposes communal responsibility on the whole tribe rather than individual criminal responsibity as recognize in criminal laws; the whole tribe may be punished for acts committed by a member of the tribe. In a theft case, for example, the tribe may be punished with fine or compensation for lost property. This because tribal life is communal and the individual does not enjoy an autonomous existence but 'melted' in his tribe. Also, in cases of murder or homicide the principle of diya applies after the family of the accused pays a decent sum of money as compensation for the family of the victim. However, in minor cases or injuries the accused bears individual criminal responsibility according to native courts law. The report highlights other methods and ways of settling crimes through what is called 'tribal organizations' which include representatives of each tribe involved in cases related to camel thefts or tribal fight. These organizations meet and negotiate settlements, engage in concilaition talks and pay compensation for the damaged or lost properties. Resolving tribal conflicts through tribal meetings or organizations, the author argues, is an old established practice of the Bedouin communities. • The Judiciary: the author argues that in the past administrators were endowed with judicial responsibilities as they have proven experience working amongst tribes to settle disputes. The author strongly supports those administrators as they were regarded as 'administrative judges' who remain in tribal areas and acquainted with tribal traditions and managed to keep tribal peace and prevent crimes. Also, statutory civil and criminal laws cannot be applied in courts and hence administrative judges have assumed responsibilities through engagement with Nazirs, Sheikhs and Omdas for the purposes of reaching conciliations
Description: This paper had been presented for promotion at the University of Khartoum. To get the full text please contact the other at babiker69@hotmail.com
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/6264
Date: 1963-08-26


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