SOMALI ሱማሌ ክልል
Deegaanka Soomaalida المنطقة الصومالية

Ethiopian Peacemaking Database

In Somali, we showcase the Guurti elder system.


Ethnic Group: Somali

Name of Reconciliation: Guurti

Themes: Islam; Elders; Forgiveness; Compensation; Camels; Quran

Location of Reconciliation Process: All over Somali Region

Guurti Process:

In accordance with Somali custom, elders are the key actors in the process of ending hostilities and negotiating agreements between disputing parties, which traditionally occurred under the acacia tree. The guurti elders (a council of clan elders that traditionally presides over a community) function as judge and jury, and their decisions are largely adhered to and respected. Guurti elders represent a parallel, not a hierarchically inferior structure to Somali region’s existing administrative levels, the region, the zone and the district. Upon appointment, each guurti elder was asked to swear on the Quran “that he will represent the community as a whole, not his clan”, and must hold knowledge of traditional law and Islam.

Upon arrival at the conflict site, the intervention team physically positions itself between the two warring parties, who are told to retreat. Elders rush to the conflict site, sometimes carrying white flags. The major task of the mediating elders is to determine the time schedule and the amount of diya compensation, which hopefully facilitates forgiveness.

Click here to read the full research paper (English)

Paper by Johannes Degefu