Guy Bucumi

Religions, Customary Laws and State Jurisdictions in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Customary laws, Religions, State jurisdictions, Sub-Saharan Africa, Secularism

Traditional justice systems in black African region have always served as alternative or complement to the formal justice system in many African countries. The traditional justice systems rules derives their origin in religious and spiritual practices or traditions that form the customary law. A country may have a significant number of traditional justice systems according to the number of traditional communities within it. These customary laws may be oral or written and the decisions made are not necessarily recorded in a law book. Spiritual or religious beliefs are therefore important in those traditional communities and play a legitimising role in strengthening the powers of community leaders within customary laws systems. However, such beliefs may go wrong and be accompanied by accusations of witchcraft, magic or curses against a category of people that may result some corporal punishment, exile or even execution of suspected persons despite any presumption of innocence. This paper aims to examine customary laws in sub-Saharan African countries and their relation to religions, and will finally question the place and the effect of judgments from customary courts in their relationship with state courts.

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