Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tribal reconciliation alternative in Kurdistan

Tribal influence within Kurdish society is extensive and appears to be superseding courts in northern Iraq, according to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting’s “Iraqi Crisis Report” last month. Conflicting parties often meet in a mosque to settle disputes, with financial compensation the frequent outcome. Before closing the case, both parties must sign an agreement stating that the conflicted has been resolved.

The practice has become so commonplace that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have both created social bureaus to deal with these cases on a daily basis. Between 2003 and 2005, the PUK’s social bureau has resolved upwards of 1,800 disputes, 184 of which were murder cases. The social bureaus will not, however, handle cases regarding women, due to the potential social impact, and espionage and theft, since such cases are in the public interest, said Mawlood Talani, head of the PUK’s social bureau.

Some lawyers and judges are concerned with the practice and believe that it undermines the legal system. “If the two main parties don’t want to insult the courts and law, they have to dissolve these bureaus. The parties want to increase the power of the tribes,” said one lawyer. However, such change does not necessarily come easily. “There is no legal system. The nature of Kurdish society is tribal,” a criminal court judge said.

For the full article, click here.


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