Major Katherine K. Stich, Customary Justice Systems and Rule of Law Reform, 221 MIL. L. REV. 215 (2014).
Her introduction begins:
A young U.S. rule of law (ROL) judge advocate (JA) and his Department of State counterpart are partnered with a local judiciary in Afghanistan, seeking to improve its justice system. They are discussing a murder trial with the criminal court’s chief judge in which the defendant was acquitted. The judge tells them that he informed the family of the deceased to take the matter to the local tribe for further redress, as they are unhappy with the outcome. The attorneys are torn: they respect the culture and its capacity for alternative dispute resolution, but feel this may undermine the government’s legitimacy and the very rule of law they are attempting to enable. The judge further explains that the court is overwhelmed by the current caseload and that the judge would like the attorneys to encourage tribal dispute resolution in some cases to alleviate prison overcrowding and trial backlog at least until the judicial system is more robust.. . .For the purposes of this article, CJS refers to those dispute resolution mechanisms outside the formal justice system, including traditional, tribal, religious, indigenous, and informal systems. However, they sometimes possess an official connection to a state by recognition or regulation.