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 Somalis have for centuries practiced a form of customary law

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magicman



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Join date : 2010-12-13

PostSubject: Somalis have for centuries practiced a form of customary law   Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:48 pm

Somalis have for centuries practiced a form of customary law, which they call Xeer. Xeer is a polycentric legal system where there is no monopolistic institution or agent that determines what the law should be or how it should be interpreted.

The Xeer legal system is assumed to have developed exclusively in the Horn of Africa since approximately the 7th century. There is no evidence that it developed elsewhere or was greatly influenced by any foreign legal system. The fact that Somali legal terminology is practically devoid of loan words from foreign languages suggests that Xeer is truly indigenous.[114]

The Xeer legal system also requires a certain amount of specialization of different functions within the legal framework. Thus, one can find odayal (judges), xeer boggeyaal (jurists), guurtiyaal (detectives), garxajiyaal (attorneys), murkhaatiyal (witnesses) and waranle (police officers) to enforce the law.[115]

Xeer is defined by a few fundamental tenets that are immutable and which closely approximate the principle of jus cogens in international law: These precepts include a) payment of blood money (locally referred to as diya) for libel, theft, physical harm, rape and death, as well as supplying assistance to relatives; b) assuring good inter-clan relations by treating women justly, negotiating with "peace emissaries" in good faith, and sparing the lives of socially protected groups (e.g. children, women, the pious, poets and guests); c) family obligations such as the payment of dowry, and sanctions for eloping; d) rules pertaining to the management of resources such as the use of pasture land, water, and other natural resources; e) providing financial support to married female relatives and newlyweds; and f) donating livestock and other assets to the poor





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