Isam Mohamed Ibrahim
Within the traditional authority system in the society of Darfur, judyya is considered one of the most important social institutions. It serves as a mechanism of conflict resolution. Problems within the context of the village, area or city are dealt with by the ajaweed who are always from the older and wise people and who are deeply knowledgeable and well-informed about the problems of the particular area.
Since antiquity, this traditional mechanism has been playing a significant role in resolving conflicts arising between individuals or groups in Darfur. This paper attempts to probe the scope of the contribution of Judyya as a traditional mechanism with an effective impact on social security in Darfur; particularly the intervention to resolve the conflicts that arise from time to time between farmers and herders.
The paper tries to describe the popular mechanism of conflict resolution and settlement known as ‘judyya’ which acts as a guarantor of social security in Darfur. The paper mainly adopted oral interviews with some of the ajaweed. It came to the conclusion that in the present time, and irrespective of the expansion in the area as well as the wide gaps in the customs and traditions of the tribes and communities, the institution of Judyya with its mechanisms is still very crucial for social security in the transitional communities (such as in Darfur); provided that the same is utilized in the proper way
the concept of conflict
In the Sudanese tradition, Judyya is one of the most significant social institutions in the Sudanese society and is a form of the traditional authority which acts as a mechanism of conflict resolution. The society in all regions of the Sudan, particularly in Darfur and Kordofan, holds Judyya and the ajaweed in high esteem. It even cherishes and deeply respects them and almost guards them with sanctity and sacredness. Hence, nobody fails to abide by the decisions of Judyya save those who disregard the social traditions or do not commit themselves to them. Consequently, any individual who defies the norms observed in this system will be subjected to sever social sanctions which will result in their loss of social integration. It goes without saying that all members of such communities (where the services of a modernized sate are not available) are in grave need for this social integration. This system of Judyya is a common practice in numerous African countries (Vamilk, 1988). Even the native administration popular courts in the different regions of the Sudan are virtually courts in the form of ajaweed councils. They look into grievances which normally relate to land, theft and other social cases. Accordingly, those who raise grievance claims to the official authorities are advised to initially refer to the ajaweed of their villages, even though official courts exist. They are also advised to conduct a Juddya session outside the court and refer to the court as a last resort when the case becomes too difficult for them to settle. The members of these popular/Judyya courts are the Omad, Shiekhs and the older people. They act as ajaweed (without any payment) to resolve conflicts and disputes that arise from time to time. So, the system of ajaweed is considered one of the traditional social mechanisms which originated from within the community. This system has a clear effect on the formulation and development of the concept of pluralistic and voluntary work in both peace times and in conflicts (Ahmed Mohammed, 2008).
Judyya and its mechanisms can be described as one of the components of the traditional system for conflict resolution between farmers and herders in Darfur. However, recently these institutions, despite their spiritual and moral powers over individuals and communities, have started to lose part of their power in the resolution and settlement of conflicts between communities (at least at the level of tribes, villages and freegs). These conflicts started to renew and become more complexed and complicated in such a way they disturb and jeopardize the social security, even though there were many Juddyas that were set up and arrived at resolutions and reconciliations ( Isam Mohammed & Mahmoud Adam, 2014).
Features of the problem
Building on the aforementioned facts and realities, this paper seeks to make the traditional system of conflict resolution between farmers and herders in Darfur better known. This system includes Juddya, ajaweed, al-rakouba, Al-Dumluj and Al-Dowana. The paper also tries to highlight the role of this system in social security. Then the paper will try to identify the developments which sometimes make the system unable to contain the conflicts that arise. The paper will attempt to offer suggestions for remedies in light of the research results.
Methodology and sources of data
The study adopts the historical methodology to provide a general background about the traditional mechanisms used to some extent in the past and present in conflict resolution in Darfur. It will also adopt the descriptive methodology to describe the Juddya and how it functions. In addition, the analytical methodology will be used for analyzing its components and its role in social behwir. The researcher mainly adopted field work by making oral interviews with the most prominent ajaweed in Darfur. Interviews were carried out with a considerable number of them. Then these data were analyzed as primary sources. In addition, sources such as references, books, referred academic journals were also used as secondary sources of data.
The concept of conflict
The concept of conflict indicates that it is a characteristic of human relationships. Conflict has many levels starting with marital relationships to social relationships and relationships with others. These complications exist all over the world. Hence is the necessity for the analysis of the causes of conflict and then finding out the solutions. If the conflict is aggravated, it will generate clashes or serious confrontations. However, a conflict can have a positive impact since it may be an indicator to a problem that has to be resolved (Attia, 2015). Conflict is a natural feature of human life which stems from the differences in disposition, interests, concepts and stances. If it had not been for the elements of diversity, variety and difference, the dynamic flow of life would have come to a complete standstill and would have become stagnant. However; if conflict exceeds the limits of tolerance to violence, and crosses the boundaries of competition over to fighting, then it will be devoid of its positivity and will turn into a tool of destruction and devastation. It will no longer be a trigger to social dynamism and activeness neither will it be a motive to renovation and change (Attia, 1999).
Conflict at its different levels and in its various forms twins with violence; be it overt violence, institutional violence, structural violence, physical violence, or psychological violence; positive or negative violence; direct or indirect violence. The degree of violence is proportional to the intensity of conflict as well as its type (Ibrahim, 1995).
Linguistically speaking, words are semantically loaded or freighted with these nuances of meaning, implicatures and typologies. Difference might develop into disagreement then, perhaps into contentiousness , then struggle, then clash, then violent conflict, and finally into hostilities and fighting.
From the nonviolent perspective, disagreement may develop into diversity, plurality, valuation, appraisal, or different belonging; then to competition, rejection, displacement, disregard, or exclusion. Poor scientific scrutiny, ill political enlightenment, misunderstanding or bad faith may lead to merging of meanings and consequently, perhaps, to the mixing up of stages and positions. The resultant of this might be squandering of historic opportunities, escalation of the pace of conflict severity, closure of entry points, or the empowerment of militants (Boyce, 1996). The emotional, psychological and semantic freight of the terminologies has at times resulted in the reproduction of conflict; and at others, to prolonging it and handing it down to generations that do not have the desire to understand its historical or situational context. Due to broad dissemination and electronic information media, stereotypes replaced detailed, objective, faithful representation. As a result, such distorted discourse can convey very complicated connotations the persistent reiteration of which will yield deeply entrenched hatred and harbouring of hard feelings of injustice. This, in effect, will only bring about false perceptions, delusions and deliberate obscurantism. The practice causing conflict itself might end, but the hard feelings of injustice resulting from it will remain; and so, future practices will inevitably be shaped by the situations of the past (Babit, 1994).
Concept of conflict resolution
The term has now come to mean “initiation of a peaceful process of reconciliation in order to replace violence and fighting with dialogue and negotiation for the sake of the realization of peace and the radical treatment of the causes of conflict.” This, primarily, does not refer to ‘settlement’ nor does it indicate ‘coercive imposition’ or ‘deception’ by ‘fixing new windows or renewing the décor’ – so to speak. Rather, the process of conflict resolution means a detailed, serious and democratic practice which is characterized by egalitarianism, clarity and transparency and is dominated by attitudes of acceptance of the other, a sincere desire for the achievement of peace, and the realization of a fair and lasting social peace (Wai, 1981).
The process of conflict resolution goes through a number of stages (Attia, 2015):
1. Awareness of the nature of the crisis and an agreement on a reasonable understanding of its elements and consequences.
2. The precise identification of the issues of contention from a practical point of view as well as the identification of the direct parties to the conflict in question.
3. Opening avenues for dialogue and the expression of willingness without any reluctance or obduracy for the sake of promoting the dialogue and building faith in its worthiness.
4. Imparking on proximity talks and direct talks in preparation to entering in negotiations.
5. Deciding on and welcoming the concerned third parties.
6. Arriving at a settlement.
7. Resolving the conflict, which is an extended process that is founded on the basis of the settlement and that continues over an extended period of time through complex (and sometimes difficult) efforts to eradicate the root causes of the conflict.
8. Preparation of the protective secondary measures and operations that prevents having recourse to conflict and violence to express dissatisfaction, Such measures and programmes include educational , information and instructional programmes as well as the establishment of institutions and systems of early warning.
The concept of social peace
Taking on board the general concept of peace (which can be defined as ‘the absence of negative phenomena such as violence’ or ‘the existence of positive phenomena such as calm, stability, health, growth, etc) , an approximation to the concept of ‘social peace’ can be attained.
Every community is made up of a group of people who, of necessity, differ from each other whether in their religious or faith affiliation, their social status, or their occupation. However, they all unite under what can be termed ‘social contract’, which is an unwritten obligation that defines the rights and duties of every party in the society. Violation of this contract will be deemed an infringement of the right of another party or breach of the commitment to an obligation towards others. Such behaviour necessitates decisive intervention to rectify the situation. On the basis of this, social contract is an expression of the equilibrium between the parties of the society that differ in their interests, power, capabilities and wills.
Social contract is of two types; direct and indirect (Attia, 2015):
1. Direct social contract
This is the type of contract concluded between the parties in a pre-determined manner. It includes aspects such as the specification of time, place and the mutual expectations of all parties in the light of the required obligations.
2. Indirect social contract
This is the type of contract that is connected with values, norms, emotions and attitudes as well as what is tacitly agreed upon between the various parties and the violation of which is deplorable. Examples of this are the traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution in Darfur (such as Judyya).
The issue of social peace has become one of the most significant priorities of governments and communities that have suffered through internal struggles. Many conferences on this issue were held in many countries such as Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. All these conferences focused on finding out the best ways for fostering the cohesion of the internal social fabric; starting from within the family and ending with the relationship of the individuals and communities on the one hand with the state on the other.
Social peace has been defined as ‘the situation of peace and harmony within the society itself in addition to the relationship between its segments and forces’ (Al-Saffar, 2002). This concept of social peace is linked with another term viz. social cohesion, which refers to the situations that link the members of the particular society through general social and cultural relationships. Some scholars use this term to refer to three fundamental traits; (1) the connection between the individuals through general values and norms, (2) collaboration between the individuals and their dependency on each other as a result of common interests, and (3) solidarity of the individual with the community (Gheith, 2006: 387).
3. Machineries of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms (Judyya Model in Darfur)
Traditional procedures for tribal reconciliation and settlement used to be and still are very common in the Sudan. The Ajaweed institutions were set up and tribal conferences were held for the resolution of conflicts, awarding compensating and imposition of sanctions. This indicates the existence of acceptable and possible practices within the local traditional context. Accordingly, more practical and professional procedures can be developed based on these practices to deal with the major conflicts of the Sudan in all of its aspects; ideologically, ethically, politically, economically, and culturally (Attia, 2015).
This part of the paper discuses one of the traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution in the Sudan, namely the Judyya model in Darfur.
3.1 What is Judyya ?
Judyya can be defined as ‘mediation conducted by individuals and groups between the parties to conflict at all levels in order to resolve the conflict’ (Isam Mohammed, 2014) or ‘ the process through which reconciliation is achieved; it is also very common to use it to refer to the group of members of which assumes the responsibility of the process of reconciliation’ (Osman, 2012:24).
Judyya varies in terms of scope and jurisdiction. It covers a broad spectrum of conflicts ranging from simple marital problems within the family to disputes between families, between villages or even between tribes. Judyyas between tribes differs sometimes. Some of them are conducted by the ajaweed who are well known in the area without any interference from other institutions, Others are dealt with through tribal reconciliation conferences organized by the government and administered by its executive power (Osman, 2012).
The mechanisms and machineries of Judyya in the Sudan are similar to the jury which is used by the American courts to issue their verdicts on civilians.
Judyya is the council of ajaweed. In Darfur society, Juddya is considered one of the most important social institutions which serve as mechanism of conflict resolution within the context of the traditional authority. The ajaweed are those people who solve problems within the context of the village, the city or the area. The ajweed are always older and wise persons who are familiar with the problems of the particular area and who enjoy deep knowledge about them (Isam Mohammed & Mahmoud Adam, 2014).
The informant, Al-Malik Rahamt Allah Mahmoud, provides the following explanation:
‘Ajaweed or juddya is a long-standing tradition in the heritage of Darfur which the folk uses to deal with minor problems so that they do not develop into conflicts and disputes. Many of the young kids who had the chance to be contemporaries to their fathers and grandfathers know how problems can be solved. Our Darfurian proverb says “The kid understands the words of his grandpa” because his grandpa chit-chats with him about the ‘good ancestors’ and about the customs and traditions and the like. Ajweed is derived from Judyya which literary means ‘the council of generosity and reconciliation between people’. And the ajaweed are those aged people who learnt from their fathers and the proverb also goes ‘The person who is a contemporary to his father will know what his grandfather says’. It was related that a long time ago, Darufr had links with the Sultanate of Wadai in Chad and there they used to call it ‘fashria’ which means ‘Juddya’
The information above which was provided by Al-Malik Rahmt Allah is further confirmed by the account provided below by the informant An-Noor Ibrahim Tairab, a prominent figure in Darfur and one of the venerable ajaweed and he has rich, vast and varied experience in the resolution of tribal conflicts in Darfur
Ajaweed is derived from ‘jood’ ‘generosity’. The one who is well off is generous towards anyone whether present and the absent. For example, if someone is away and he left his little ones alone, then the ajwaad will look after them and if some guests come, he will take care of them. Moreover; if any dispute arises on the dividing lines between agricultural lands or the kalakeeb (sing. kulikab which is a mark that demarcates the borders between farms such as a tree, a hollow or a pit where rainwater collects, or a high place etc.), people will say this problem won’t be resolved unless the ajaweed are called. When the ajaweed come and hold a hearing session about the problem and pass their judgment, the parties to the conflict will accept their arbitration. This is known as the judyya council’.
3.2 The ajaweed council
The ajaweed is similar to official court of law. Judges of popular courts in Darfur are ajaweed who are considered to be of great wisdom and have knowledge about and are familiar with the affairs of the people around them. They look into grievances which usually relate to lands, thefts or some problems of social nature. Despite the existence of official courts, aggrieved persons who file formal claims are initially advised to refer to the ajaweed of their villages or they are advised to hold a Juddya session outside of the court and come to the court only as a last resort when the issue becomes too difficult for them to settle. Members of these courts are the omads, sheikhs and older people. These judges act as ajaweed (without pay) to resolve conflicts and disputes which rise from time to time (Ibrahim, 2007) (cf. Ahmed Mohammed, 2008)
Conflicts that are dealt with by the ajaweed council (Juddya) vary but they can be classified into two categories (Isam, 2006):
• Conflicts that are resolved by the ajaweed within the family, the residential area, or the tribe.
• Tribal conflicts for which reconciliation conferences are organized by the authorities and the assistance of the ajaweed is sought.
In more detail, the conflicts that are settled by Judyyas usually include the following:
o Grievous hurt
o Murder (individually or collective)
o Theft and armed robbery.
o Encroachment on land.
o Friction between farmers and herders.
o Tribal conflicts.
o Family-related problems.
When the ajaweed council convenes, the claim made by the parties to the conflict will be looked into (Isam Mohamed, 2012).
The informant. Idries Al-Banani, has the following to say about the ajaweed council:
As long as people settle in one place, there will inevitably be problems between them. People in Darfur say ‘the ajwad is a needle and thread, he sews up the torn.’ In the ajaweed council, and as far as the reasons for holding it are concerned, we find that the act of conflict resolution develops (in case that it becomes too difficult to resolve) from the village imam to the village sheikh and then to the omda and the shartai and so on until the Judyya convenes and come to a resolution to the conflict by the community elders; and he who does not have elders falls into the well.
3.3 Who the ajweed are
In order to qualify as one of the ajaweed who intervene to resolve individual, family-related, or tribal conflicts in Darfur, a person has to meet certain characteristics. These include long-standing life experience, reason and age, deep knowledge of the affairs of people and their customs and traditions, gaining the trust and confidence of all, wisdom and knowledge, patience and indulgence, generosity and hospitality, diplomacy and democracy in narrowing the divergences in views. These attributes constitute the general qualities that have to be present in a person so that he will be describes as one of the ajaweed.
The community in Darfur holds the ajaweed and the Juddya in high esteem It even cherishes and deeply respects them and almost guards them with sanctity and sacredness. Hence, nobody fails to abide by the decisions of Judyya save those who disregard the social traditions or do not commit themselves to them. Consequently, any individual who defies the norms observed in this system will be subjected to sever social sanctions which will result in their loss of social integration. It goes without saying that all members of such vast and geographically dispersed communities (where the services of a modernized sate are not readily available) are in grave need for this social integration (Isam Mohammed, 2014).
3.4 Qualities of ajaweed
All informants agree that for a person to be described as one of the ajaweed who intervene to resolve conflicts at any level (from individual conflicts to tribal conflicts) , he has to enjoy a number of qualities. These include:
o long life experience
o age and reason
o good knowledge of peoples life and traditions
o Gaining the trust and confidence of all.
o Knowledge and wisdom
o Patience and indulgence
o Generosity and hospitality
o Democracy and diplomacy in narrowing the gaps between differing points of view.
3.5 Representation of women in Judyya
By definition, society consists of men and women. Therefore, conflict between individuals and groups of both sexes is unavoidable. Judyya in Darfur is a social mechanism for achieving justice, resolving conflicts and cessation of disputes between the members of society. It is imperative, then, that each sex should have a role to play in this regard. Nevertheless; due to the traditions and customs in Darfur, women are not treated on the same footing as their male counterparts in terms of rights and status as members of Judyya. Yet; more often than not the ajaweed , behind the scenes, rely on women in making judgments or influencing one party or both parties to the conflict to accept the judgment of the ajaweed. This is because women have a great ability to influence the individuals and the groups (acceptance of dyya instead of quisas (“blood money” instead of “retribution”)
The role of women in family-related conflicts and disputes (disagreement between husbands and wives) is more effective than Judyya. Women who attempt to achieve reconciliation between the conflicting parties within the family act with calm and confidentiality. In fact, they even intervene in the conflict or dispute at the early stages before disagreement develops, the damage worsens or the dispute prolongs. So, women in Darfur play a role in achieving reconciliation between conflicting parties particularly in the family-related disputes of confidential nature so that they do not develop to the stages of treatment with Judyya, which entails disclosure of some secrets.
3.6 Convening and procedures of Judyya
o The traditional Judyya sits immediately after the conflict erupts. This occurs either by the ajaweed themselves volunteer to intervene to resolve the conflict or on request from the parties to the conflict for mediation. The Judyya council is composed of a number of members (It is to be noted that this should be an odd number so that when a consensus is not reached, the verdict can be passed by majority vote “50%+1”). The Judyya council should include persons who are known in the area to possess a reputation of impartiality and integrity or those who have the qualities of the ajwaad mentioned above. However, it is customary to get the assistance of those known as the “staff of the village” (In Darfur, the ‘staff of the village’ consists of the sheikh, the dumloj and the imam of the mosque. The sheikh is either a sheikh of individuals (responsible of them and of their problems) or a sheikh of land (responsible of the distribution of lands and the settlement of disputes that arise in relation to them). In addition, the council includes the ajaweed of the particular village. Sometimes the assistance of ajaweed of neighbouring villages (or some far away areas) is sought. When the ajaweed council sits, it looks into the claims made by the parties to the conflict. Such claims usually include grievous hurt, murder (individual or collective), theft and armed robbery, encroachment on land, friction between farmers and herders, tribal conflicts, and family-related problems (Fadl, 2008( (cf. Isam Mohammed & Mahmoud Adam, 2014).
The Judyya council consists of three groups of members:
(1) A committee representing the perpetrator (the defendant/the accused)
(2) A committee representing the victim (the plaintiff/the complainant)
(3) A panel of the neutral ajaweed.
The number of the members of each of the three groups is the same.
The Judyya process follows the procedure below
1. Recording down the personal details of the two parties :
• Place of residence
2. Conducting an investigation with the two parties
Hearing of the accounts of the two parties to the conflict and the statements/testimony of the witnesses.
The council starts to deliberate the case in question and discusses all aspects, details and evidence.
The neutral ajaweed panel requests permission to withdraw for consultation on the case in order to come to an agreement on a solution.
The panel returns and informs the two committees and the parties about their judgment.
The two parties to the conflict are given the chance to deliberate the judgment. If they agree to it, they return and declare their acceptance.
Detailing the execution of the judgment items and how they will be enforced.
The Domluj writes down the judgment.
Two points that have to be taken into consideration here are:
• As has been mentioned before, the ajaweed panel has a conventional authorization to pass the verdict which they see as appropriate in accordance with the long-standing traditions and precedents. Their decision is considered final and is received with acceptance from all parties.
• Since Islam is the prevalent religion in Darfur, most of the traditions used in resolving such conflicts draw on the Islamic Sharia, This is in addition to the accepted norms which are a mixture of religious, pagan and pharaonic beliefs (Isam Mohammed & Mahmoud Adam; 2014)
3.7 The role of Judyya in resolving the conflicts between farmers and herders
The actual survey field work in this study revealed that most of the conflicts in Darfur arise between farmers and herders and as a result of competition over the natural resources. Frictions between individuals and groups occur particularly in rain-fed agriculture, fruit orchards, and (the gum arabic) hashab trees (acacia Senegal). There are also other conflicts that arise between farmers and herders around water resources such as wells, rahads (fresh water pools) and hafeers (water reservoirs) However, the most common frictions are the ones related to agricultural lands and pastures. In Darfur, there are many traditions hat work out as effective mechanisms of conflict resolution in these fields. These mechanisms are closely and strongly linked to the traditions of the exploitation of agricultural lands and pastures. As mentioned above, lands in Darfur are possessed by tribes and clans. This possession is one of administering rather than freehold ownership. This means that the land (hakura) owner just manages the exploitation of the land by distributing it among farmers.
According to the informant Idries Al-Banani, the effectiveness of the mechanisms can be summed up (in accordance with the classification of the problems) in the following points:
(1) Disputes over kalkeeb:
The kalikab (pl. kalakeeb) is the boundary between one farm and another. These boundaries may be demarcated by an uncultivated strip of land between the two farms, a tree, a hafeer, etc. Disputes over the kalikab arise when one farmer blurs or removes the borderline indicator with the intention of expanding his land at the expense of that of his neighbour. When such a thing occurs, the complaint would be raised to the sheikh of land who will then tries to resolve the conflict according to his knowledge about the natural boundaries between the farms in his area. If it becomes difficult for the sheikh to settle the dispute, he will get the assistance of the ajaweed who will , in turn, get the assistance of the local people to act as witnesses and provide testimony based on their knowledge of and experience with agricultural lands and the borderlines between them. If the act of encroachment is proven to be true, the ajaweed will advise the transgressor to pull out of the land of his neighbour. The transgressor will usually accept the advice and acts accordingly. If he does not, then the normal steps of appeal will be followed: the ajwad, the village imam, the sheikh, the omda, the shurtay, the malik, the nazir …. etc.)
Some disputes are caused by encroachment on the gardens of hashab ( a geographical area with forest trees that produce gum arabic). These gardens are owned by people who inherited them from their ancestors. Settlement of such disputes follow the same procedure described above.
(2) Disputes over Hashab gardens:
Some disputes are caused by encroachment on the gardens of hashab ( a geographical area with forest trees that produce gum arabic). These gardens are owned by people who inherited them from their ancestors. Settlement of such disputes follow the same procedure described above.
(3) Disputes over the hakuras
In case of disputes that arise over the hakuras, the burden of the proof is on the owner of the hakura who has to provide the documents which prove that the hakura is his property. If those documents have been lost, witnesses who are knowledgeable about such conflicts are called to give testimony.
It is to be noted that the disputes which arise over the land borders and the signs which demarcate their boundaries in Darfur stem from reference to things that can change or disappear over time. Such signs include:
• A hollow where water collects.
• A rock.
• A mountain.
• A valley
• A border matamora
( a border matamora (Arabic : matmura from tamara which means ‘cover up’ or ‘bury’) is a deep hole in the ground “1 metre x 2 metres X several meters’. This hole Is filled with impurities of iron smelting , crop residues and waste and tar ‘oil that is extracted from sweet million seeds’. The construction of the matamora (the sign that demarcates the borders between the hakuras) is attended by all members of the family, the members of the extended family and some other people. It is a must that children should attend this event because after the decease of the older people, they will be the future witnesses and they will one day give testimony if and when border disputes should arise. The matmora should be inherited by descendants from ancestors because it represents “the demarcating line” between the tribes. When a conflict arises over the hakuras, the ajaweed and the witnesses will be called to search for such borders and dig for such subterranean signs. This will be an irrefutable proof of the right of one party to the disputed border of the hakura (Isam Mohammed; 2007).
Idries AL-Banani, the informant, continues his statement about the traditions of conflict over the hakoras:
After selecting people for the ajawed council, they start deliberating the case of conflict. They continue do so and the council should not adjourn until they come to a solution even if this continues for several days, The Sultan (the native administration in the area) should provide the members o the council with food and beverages. When they finish, they write a conciliation document. The representative of the Sultan must be present so as to stamp it with his seal.
The informant Abadalla Ibrahim Teirab has the following to say about the conflict over hakuras
The reason why there are ajaweed is the problems that occur between tribes and families, people who have lands inherited since ancient times and everyone has a document with the seal of the Sultan on it . A tree is not always a landmark that people can depend on but people can depend on fixed landmarks such as water hafeers, mountains or rahdads. Instead, they can dig a matamora. The most important thing in this connection is the attendance of people to this especially the young children. In the ajaweed council for conflict resolution concerning hakuras those who witnessed the specification of these landmarks when they were young in addition to those old people who attended that come and provide testimony and they say , after they swear under oath, ‘me and so-and-so and so-and-so in the so-and-so time and the so-and-so place attended the construction of the matamora and this place belongs to so-and-so or to their grandfather’ and so on, After they make the judgment, they write it in a document and they seal it and they make a feast to confirm that no one will encroach the land of the other in the future.
(4) Conflicts over valley farms
It is normal that streams in sandy areas change their paths from time to time. his causes conflicts over lands. It is customary that a farmer in Darfur owns two farms; one in the goaz (the sandy soil) and another near the valley (loam soil). The farms around the valleys are termed arshwa. The areas of these arshwa change because they increase or decrease according to the movement of the valley, its meanderings and the riverbank erosion which washes away the sides of the river or the stream.
The informant Abdalla Ibrahin Teirab says that:
As far as the problems of valley farms are concerned, we find that the valley, over time, changes its path from one place to another. This stirs up greed and problems and conflicts crop up. The ajaweed intervene in order to resolve the conflicts and they specify for each party their place of farm according to their previous knowledge.
(5) Lands not cultivated for long periods of time
This causes conflicts when the successors (the inheritors) appear after long absence. Usually, the boundaries of the farm will have been forgotten and the borderline marks (kalakeeb) will have been lost. It is also possible that neighbour s would have encroached on the land. This will cause conflicts and it is not uncommon in such cases that instances of killings might occur. However, the system of ajaweed ensures the restitution of rights to the aggrieved party.
(6) Animals/Herders encroachment on farming areas: first time
Animal encroachment on farming areas can occur for three reasons:
(1) The ability of the animals to encroach,
(2) Negligence/inattention of the herder, or
(3) Intentionally by the herder.
In such cases, the farmer traces the animals’ path back. When he finds them, he advises the herder not to leave his animals unattended so that they do not encroach on the farm another time.
(7) Animals/Herders encroachment on farming areas: second time
If the same herd of animals encroaches into the same farm another time, the farmer takes the animals to the zariba of stray animals (this is a small piece of land surrounded by a throne fence for temporary keeping of the animals which destroy farms or the animals that have been stolen or for any other reason until the problem is resolved. Usually the village sheikh is in charge of the zariba of stray animals) In this case, the village sheikh calls the ajawed who are present in the village to estimate the losses of the crops that have been damaged by the animals. The tradition in this case is that the compensation for the losses is divided into three equal amounts. He farmer is asked to waive one third of the damages on condition that the owner of the animals pay him the remaining two thirds as compensation. Also, in many cases, the losses are forgiven if the encroachment is the first incidence or if the farmer has enough food for a year.
(8) Repeated Animals/Herders encroachment on farming areas
If this encroachment is repeated many times, the conflict will be referred to the court of native administration. The prevailing judgment in such cases is the compensation of the farmer for the losses caused by destroying the crops. Also, the owner of the animals has to pay a fine to the native administration.
(9) Destruction of hashab trees (gum arabic producing trees)
Losses are estimated by people specialized in this field. The owner of the animals will have to pay damages or a fine.
(10) The tradition of the village precincts
Traditionally, there is customary practice that preserves the rights of animals’ owners and saves them the liability incurred by such events. This customary practice is to allow the village animals to graze within the precincts of the village. In every village in Darfur, an area of one or two kilomtres around the village is kept as a ‘sanctuary’ and is known as the village harum.
With regard to the effectiveness of these traditions in resolving conflicts between farmers and pastoralists, the informant Idries Al-BAnani says:
The issue of farms and animals’ owners or herders …. There are long-standing traditions that determine the paths (the roads or corridors for nomads in Darfur) for the pastoralists because they move … in autumn, they go to the northern directions of Darfur; in the summer, they go to the southern directions – down to Bahr Alarab.s They have well known and specific paths to follow. Both parties (the herders and the farmers) have to observe these traditions. If there are violations, they will be contained on the basis of these traditions.
The traditions of nomads and sedentary populations are as follows:
(11) The tradition of entrench request
Before the nomads get to the particular area, their leader (Omda or Sheikh) sends an envoy to the head of the native administration of the sedentary population requesting entrance to his area for a short period of time and he expresses their readiness to respect the prevailing traditions, customs and values in that area. After acceptance, the nomadic tribe will be allocated a place for them to stay in and an area for their animals to graze on. The people in the area will be informed that some nomads are staying as guests in the neighbourhood and they are encouraged to treat them in the way they deserve as guests.
(12) Animals encroachment into agricultural lands
If friction occurs (such as the animals of the herders encroach into the farms either due to negligence from the herder or as a result of the animals moving into the night and destruction to the farm occurs). In this case, and in accordance with the tradition, the case will be treated in three stages:
(a) If the herder is present, the farmer may warn him and advised him to keep away from the precincts of the farm. in this case, the herder will accept the advice and the warning. he will also apologize to the farmer and promises not to let this happen another time.
(b) If the damage is massive or the event is repeated, the neighbours might be asked to intervene as ajaweed or messengers of peace to resolve the conflict. The group of ajaweed will be composed of people from both parties to the conflict (the villager and the guest nomads) he damage will be estimated and usually the two sides will pardon each other and the farmer will be compensated for his loss.
(c) If the ajaweed do not reach a solution to the conflict, the case will usually be referred to the local authority (the popular court in the area) which is made up of the omda or the nazir or their councils. In such cases, the owner of the animals which did the damage will pay a fine.
(d) The informant Adam An-Noor Teirab continues his statement:
There should be with the nomads a representative of the nazir, the court of the tribe, the malik, the shartay or the omda. This is because they have their own problems concerning their wives, their children, their families and the neighbours. They need someone to help them solve these problems. The representative intervenes to solve these problems. In relation to the traditions of their movement; in the daar ‘the place where they are staying’ at Ishaa prayer, they decide on the time of their movement to the next place. Before sending the envoy, they send a person called the dwaar ‘the explorer’ who goes around to explore the place in terms of water and grass and he comes back with a full report. When they move to another place, they stay there for a few days and then move to another place so that they do not consume all of the grass and the water in that place in order to use it when the return in their opposite journey. The murhal ‘the journey’ itself is divided in a specific well known manner
Mechanisms of the implementation of Judyya judgments
4.1 The Domluj
In major disputes. The tribe is represented by a person known as the Domluj who is considered the tribe leader entrusted with negotiations, receipt of documents and agreements, and collection of the amounts of money his tribe owes to others. The group of Domlojs in any tribe chooses a head for the group. This head is known as the ‘downa’ which means ‘head of the Domlujs”. When customary judgments are made in the form of fines, compensations or blood money, the domluj starts the implementation of these judgments through established accurate settlements. For instance, in the case of blood money the amounts of money are not paid in one installment. Part of it is paid and the remainder ids deposited in what is known as the rakouba (Isam Mohammed & Mahmoud Adam, 2014) (cf. Ibrahim, 2014)
The informant Idries Al-Banani describes the power and authorization of the domluj in his tribe
This domluj has powers that are stronger than that of the Sultan, the Mali, the Shartay, etc. Nobody can enter the house of the Sultan unless the domluj is present because the instructions of the Sulatn are that the dumolj has the right to enter the house any time. When the domluj collects money for fines, he has the right to enter the house of the Sultan to collect his share. The domluj is like the judge and he has his own special committee the members of which can reach anybody in the tribe in their places and collect their shares in the name of the tribe.
The task of the Dumloj requires precision and organization in the filing and archiving documents. When the ajaweed (Alrakooba) settle a dispute, the judgment will be communicated not only to the Dumlojs in Darfur, but letters concerning the same will be circulated to all of the Dumlojs of the particular tribe in the different parts of the Sudan. Consequently; if the tribe of the victim does not find the Rakooba document in Darfur, It can be brought from the tribe members in, for example, the furthest parts of eastern Sudan and the document will be accepted.
4.2 The Rakooba
Generally speaking, the rakooba , in the rural areas of the Sudan, can be defined as a rough shelter built from local materials such as wood, grass, palm tree leaves and the like. However; in the context of the system of Judyya in Darfur, the Rakooba refers to a tradition which the tribes of Darfur follow in dealing with the settlement of human and material losses. Usually the losses are counted and assessed. Then a document is written between the two parties according to which the losing party will forgive the losses caused by the other party. These losses will remain as debt in case another incident should occur between the two parties. The Rakooba is usually considered a debt which one tribe or clan owes another one (Ibrahim, 2014).
The Rakooba as a traditional mechanism of conflict resolution in Darfur is closely linked with the functions of judyya. After the settlement of the dispute, the Dumlojs will refer to their archived documents to see if there is a precedent. If they find a written document between the two tribes, the settlement will be based on the previous Rakooba. If not, a new Rakooba will be done. This will be an agreement between the parties to the conflict represented by their respective tribes so that similar future events with other parties can be dealt with in the same way.
An example of how the Rakooba system works is in the case of murder. The following points and steps are usually observed:
• In Darfur, nobody has the right to forgive a murder because it is the right of the tribe.
• Any settlement made by the tribe is binding to its members.
• If the judgment concerning the case of murder is ‘blood money’, the amount of money will be estimated according to the previous Rakoobas in the past ten years.
• A small amount of money will be taken to spend on what is known as “karamat” (feasts made to mark the end of the case and to normalize things by stopping people from harbouring hard feelings and bitterness”
• If, after this agreement. the case is brought before the official court, the ajaweed will go to the official judge with their documents. The judge will cancel the case.
• The customs in these cases allow the parties and the mediators to negotiate the possibilities of reducing or forgiving the judgment made by the ajaweed.
If the victim forgives or waives his legal rights , this will be written in the final document.
4.3 Alminsas (fifty-fifty partnership contribution)
Alminsas is an agreement between two different tribes which stipulates fifty-fifty participation in conflict judgments in both types of payment ; material and in-kind . Alminsas is an important aspect of the life of such traditional communities. The importance stems from the fact that some tribes who live in a specific geographical area have small numbers of members. Consequently, they cannot afford the huge amounts of fines that are imposed on them due to the accidents and conflicts that occur. For this reason, these small tribes are forced to cooperate with the other big tribes which inhabit the same area to be able to face such circumstances.
Alminsas, which is central to the job of the Dumloj, can also be seen as a form of alliance between groups. In Darfur, small tribes usually make agreements with neighbouring big tribes in order to share the cost of blood money, fines and settlements. The two tribes consider their members as equal and they pay the same amounts of money imposed on them. This agreement is similar to insurance in urban communities (Ibrhim, 2014)
5. The role of Judyya in social peace in Darfur
Social peace will be achieved if social contract – direct or indirect – is realized without any problems. However; if social contract is not observed, social peace will be negatively affected through tension, turmoil and will deviate from its path. Hence is the significant role of Judyya in social peace and social coherence since ancient times and until recently. These communities maintain their social peace through the enforcement of these traditions, the enactment of laws and the specification of its implementation mechanisms; as the case in Darfur (the region of the study). Of course, in other parts of the Sudan, society established , in addition to the official courts, Judyya and other systems. The people who are responsible for these traditional systems have experience and knowledge. These traditions and traditional institutions represent the main safeguard for social peace in the Sudan
Results and discussion
(1) In answer to the question about the best thing to be done to Judyya so that it fully undertakes its role in maintain social peace, it became clear that there are a number of reasons that made it fail to perform its function. One of these reasons is the loss of its epistemic heritage as a result of the death of those who know these traditions. The Malik Rahamtalla Mahmoud (Malik of Alfashir; the oldest man in the native administration in Darfur - he is now 90- and he lived through the years of colonization and was a member of the first Sudanese Constituent Assembly) says:
In recent years, Judyya has lost its value for a number of reasons; politicization, death of the tribes’ wise old people, loss of enthusiasm of the youth to adhere to the customs and traditions. In my view, Judyya can play a role in conflict resolution between farmers and herders if it is linked with native administration even though native administration itself has suffered a great deal during the past decades due to the weak laws and because colonization has its agenda in keeping the native administration as they looked at as cheap labour that helps them with administration and revenues (taxes). Now many changes have taken place in both the administration and the society and we say that there is no successful role for the men of native administration unless they keep abreast with these changes and we ask why fixed laws for native administration are not enacted and why Judyya is not embodied in the Constitution.
(2) The current inefficiency of Judyya and its mechanisms in conflict resolution is not due to Judyya per se. It is the result of a number of factors that weakened this system. This paper came to this conclusion from the following testimonies of informants
The informant Zakaria Ahmed Al-Safi (65, one of Alfashir ajaweed and a member of Alfashir popular court) says:
Judyya of the past is the system that resolves problems now. The discourse going around now about the inefficiency of Judyya in resolving problems … the problem is not in Judyya as a system but in the ajaweed who constitute the members of the Judyya in question. Some of them do not have experience in the committees of ajaweed and some of them are paid in money in order to attend the Judyya. in fact, members of the Judyya are not employees so that they get paid.
Some informants see that one of the most important reasons is the disrespect of the young generations to the old. Al-Sadiq Ibrahim (45, deputy nazir of Zyadyya) says;
Disrespect of the young generation to the old and other reasons have led to the diminishing of the role of ajaweed in traditional conflicts and their tendency to participate in as ajaweed in the reconciliation conferences held by the governments to resolve conflicts between tribes.
(3) One of the noteworthy results is the emergence of women as one of the ajaweed in this traditional system, which is a role to be added to the woman’s past social and economic roles. Many informants see that the role of women is expanding in recent times. That is why the absence of women from the Judyya in the past was one of the reasons that reduced the chances of success of the Judyya (at least in issues related to women).
The informant Zakaria Ahmed al-Safi says
Through our experience in Judyya, we discovered a weak point which is the negligence of the role and opinion of women in Judyya even though she herself might be the main victim in the particular case. We included them either in person or by proxy (by authorizing other women who are known for their wisdom in the region to represent them). Usually the Judyya session lasts one day and in a few hours , unlike the case of courts.
Sittan Abdul Rasoul (an ex-teacher and one of the ajaweed in Alfashir) says
I think that the representation of women in native administration and in the traditional mediation mechanisms of conflict resolution between farmers and herders is not an easy and simple process as people think due to many challenges and obstacles. We cannot speak about her participation now and we are currently trying to remove these obstacles and face these challenges.
The informant Mohammed Al-Zein Abdalla (60, chairperson of the Committee of good offices in Alfashir Locality) agrees with this:
The greatest challenge is how to make the community ready to accept the participation of women in the ajaweed council in the context of the traditions and customs. It is a must that misconceptions change and the ability of women to participate in the committees of ajaweed has to be explained to the community. Women have very great roles to play at the level of the home, the locality and the state. They have a clear role. They have participated in everything (for example in elections). If peace is secured and if women have the ability and power to participate in the ajaweed council, then there is no problem. Women should enjoy their rights by removing obstacles such as traditions and customs. The situation has to be remedied by exerting efforts and by training in order to activate the society and I hope that the society will accept the woman, Couture does not change, but it can develop.”
(4) As far as the efficiency of employing this traditional system is concerned in relation to the reconciliation conferences that are held to resolve tribal conflicts , some informants see that the governments should not intervene directly in the Judyya. Zakaria Ahmed Al-Safi says:
If the governments keep away from the Judyya and leave that to the people themselves, they will be successful hundred percent and they will have a role in social peace.
In these conferences, it is noted that the parties to the conflict are a different group from those who represent them in the reconciliation process in speak in their name without being actually involved in the fight or even be the victims’ kinsmen. The result is either leniency or extremism. In both cases, no real settlement to the conflict can be assumed.
(5) Until recently, the Darfurian society was known for its social coherence because of the state of social peace that most of the population lived. This resulted in the fact that social relations were governed by the traditions that regulated ht lives of the settled population (the farmers) and the nomads (herders).
Inefficiency of Judyya is sometimes linked with many factors and incidental causes that the region lives through. The following recommendations can be offered in order to rectify the situation:
• Reduction of the frictions between farmers and herders by reviewing of legislations and the local orders that regulates the life of those two sectors in accordance with the changes that are taking place in Darfur.
• Activation of the traditions and customs that were dominant in the past and the employment of which for the purpose of social peace and the peaceful co-existence between the people who live in the same region.
• Attention to the big serious development project to direct the traditional producers towards production and fair competition instead of involving in conflict and fighting round the traditional meagre resources.
• Revision of the overall population policies in Darfur and the distribution of the same according to the areas of production taking into account the increase in the population in the past few decades and their concentration in certain locations (displaced people camps).
• Training of the students of law, the judges , the administrative officers and even the politicians on traditional mechanisms.
In order to activate and benefit from these traditions, it is imperative to objectively and scientifically evaluate the criminal acts in the society. This will make it possible to deal with these acts in the most limited of scopes taking into consideration the context of the multicultural and traditional society and where, sometimes, standards vary. These traditional institutions have a great role to play in the solidarity and coherence of the society in light of the vastness of the country and the unavailability of the official courts in Many parts of the country in addition to the difficulty of accessing the available ones. Recently, many changes have occurred (social, cultural, economical, religious and political) that affected the efficiency of these traditional mechanisms. Consequently, their previous role and function diminished. This is reflected in the incomplete communication of this knowledge to the new generations, the unfavourable interventions, the absence of some of the effective elements in the society in its membership. However, chances are that these institutions will be reactivated if they are scientifically and practically investigated through research and documentation; and consequently, utilizing these traditions in the conduction of negotiations that relate to the crisis in Darfur due to the effective role of these traditional mechanisms in the building of peace and the maintenance of social peace.
References and list of informants
References (In Arabic)
Alsffar, H (2002). Social Peace: Components and Protection. Dar Al-Maarif. Cairo.
Attia, A (1999). The Overlap between the Sudanese and Ugandan Conflict: The Army of the Lord Case. Arkaweet 12th Conference. U of K.
Attia, A (2015). Introduction to the Concepts and Mechanisms of Conflict. www.sudnile.com
Fadl, A (2008). Juddya in Darfur. A study published by USAID. Alfashir.
Ghaith, M (2006). Dictionary of Sociology. Dar Al-Marifa Aljamea. Cairo.
Ibrahim, A (2008). The Liquidation of Native Administration and its Consequences in Darfur Sudan Currency Printing Company Ltd. Khartoum.
Ibrahim, H (1995). Cultural Diversity and the Building of the National State in the Sudan. Sudanese Studies. U of K.
Ibrahim, I & Daowd, M (2014). Land and People in Darfur. College of Graduate Studies and Scientific Research - AlFashir University. Engineering House Press. Cairo.
Ibrahim, I (2014). “Utilization of Judyya in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building” A Study in Applied Folklore in Traditional Popular Mechanisms in Darfur. Waza Journal issue 17. Sudanese Life Recording and Documentation Centre - Ministry of Culture Khartoum.
Ibrahim, I (ND). Nafeer(Coolective Work) and Development: An Anthropological Applied Study in Darfur Scotty. Sudan Currency Printing Company. Khartoum
Osman, A (2012). Juddya: Fundamental Study in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (with Reference to Darfur). Sudan Currency Printing Company. Khartoum.
References (In English)
Babit. E (1994). Basic Conflict Resolution Skills. The Balkans Peace Project. USA.
Boyce, J (1996). Economic Policy for Peace Building . Innel/Boulder, London.
Gurr, op.cit. Solleberg, Margret (Ed) (1995). States In armed Conflict. Upsala, Upsala University.
Ibrahim, I (2013). The Traditional Mechanisms of Conflict Resolution and Peace Building in Darfur: From an Anthropological Perspective. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, V. 9. MCSER Publishing. Rome. Italy.
Vamilk, V (1988). The Need to have Enemies and Allies. Jason Armson, NJ.
Wai, D (1981). The African Arab Conflict in the Sudan. Africana, London.
Al-Noor Ibrahim Tairab: 80 years ; Ajaweed of Darfur; interviewed in Alfashir in 2016.
AlSadiq Ibrahim: 45 years; Zyadyya Deputy Nazir; interviewed in Alfashir in December 2016.
Idries Al-Banani: 70 years; Ajaweed of Darfur; interviewed in Alfashir in 2016.
Mohammed Alzein Abdalla: about 60 years; Head of Good Offices Committee, Alfashir Locality ; interviewed in 2016 in Alfashir.
Uz. Sittana Abdul Rasoul :retired teacher; Ajawee of Alfashir; interviewed in 2014.
Zakaria Ahmed Al-Safi: about 60 years; Ajaweed of Alfashir ; interviewed in February 2016.