The indigenous peoples and their practices have always existed. This was staged before the emergence of the modern State and its formal Criminal Justice System (CJS). Currently, questions posed are directed toward African indigenous systems, namely, the Ethiopian Gadda system to confirm existing contribution to democratic values and sustainable institutions of governance in the contemporary restorative justice and criminal justice system. The main objective of this paper is to understand the contribution of Ethiopian Gadda systems in light with restorative justice and the criminal justice system.
A qualitative research approach was employed, coupled with a case study research design. The non-probability, purposive and snowball sampling was utilised to select participants in the Oromia region, Ethiopia. Semi-structured face-to-face and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were used to collect data during empirical fieldwork.
Gadda is a democratic indigenous African political system. The varied system of Gadda leads the society politically, socially, economic, and religious aspects. A Gadda cycle contains five different age-classes, which is changeable on every eight years based to perform social, political, economic, and religious responsibilities. It is also submitted that the African continent is faced by numerous consensus and criminal justice system issues, solved through African indigenous knowledge of governance. Therefore, the contribution of Gadda Systems for children rights, protecting women’s rights, plants and animals rights is expressive. It serves as a mechanism for enforcing moral conduct, building social cohesion, and expressing forms of community culture.
It is recommended that these systems should be effectively used to regulate political, economic, social, and religious activities of the community dealing with issues such as conflict resolution, reparation and protection of women’s, children, plans and animals’ rights. Since the absence of written legislation, strong policies and laws related to the legitimacy of Gadda system conflict resolution mechanisms and their link with the formal CJS is weak, so indigenous justice systems should be properly organised, harmonised and acquainted within the CJS and due attention should be given by the government and policy makers. This will contribute for both the government and the public to maintain peace and order by ensuring fair and equitable justice system.
Keywords: Concepts, Criminal Justice System, Ethiopia, Gadda System, Perspectives, and restorative justice.