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Traditional Somali Customary Rules

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the evolution and role of Somali customary law up to the present day, including an examination of the formation of customary law in general as well as rules governing the conduct of clan hostilities and their mechanism for conflict resolution. It provides an analysis of Somali customary rules of warfare that, in principle, regulated clan hostilities. In order to understand the xeer system, the chapter provides a brief overview of the Somali legal system, and examines the status of customary law under it, before examining the formation and contents of Somali customary rules of warfare. It also examines the status of customary law in the legal framework of the pre-and post-independence legal systems, the customary codes regulating the conduct of clan warfare, the system of clan collective responsibility, and also the rules protecting the immune groups such as Biri-Ma-Geydo.

Keywords: Biri-Ma-Geydo; clan collective responsibility; clan hostilities; Somali customary rules; xeer system



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