This project studies the implementation of human rights in legally plural contexts with a case study on Bolivia focusing on the right to a fair trial.
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Eva Brems
Researcher: Dr. Giselle Corradi
Sponsored by FWO (2011-2014)
When a state endorses legal pluralism and gives official status to more than one legal order, it is often confronted with the task of guaranteeing that all these legal orders comply with human rights. This is frequently the case in post-colonial settings, where next to the legal orders inherited from former colonial powers, customary law is also part of the state architecture for the administration of justice. As all legal orders, customary ones may advance human rights in certain areas, yet they may undermine them in others. At the same time, customary law is embedded in historical, cultural and socio-economic contexts that differ in several respects from those that gave rise to international human rights law. For these reasons, assessing the extent to which customary law complies with human rights standards and taking measures for ensuring access to human rights in legally plural jurisdictions are not straightforward tasks.
This project focuses on the relationship between customary procedures and the right to a fair trial, with a case study in Bolivia. On the one hand, it analyses how state law can accommodate alternative understandings of justice when implementing constitutional guarantees. On the other hand it explores which factors interplay with customary dispute resolution respecting and protecting fair trial standards, and in particular, how such processes are influenced by encounters with state law.