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Will Iraq's new 'tribal court' undermine rule of law?

A group of tribal sheikhs will be appointed by the Ministry of Justice to intervene as arbitrators to resolve disputes and conflicts between Iraqi tribes, which some fear will undermine the rule of law in Iraq.
Tribal leaders gather for a meeting in Mosul on August 30, 2017 to discuss the security situation after Iraqi forces reseized the city from the Islamic State (IS) group in July. 
Iraqi troops backed by a US-led international coalition routed IS in Mosul in July after a gruelling nine-month fight for Iraq's second city. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE        (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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BAGHDAD — Amid Iraqi calls to reinforce the rule of law and strengthen Iraqi state institutions, the Ministry of Justice announced March 28 a new initiative for “arbitration” among tribes, allowing a team of tribal elders to intervene as arbitrators in resolving all possible disputes and conflicts between Iraqi tribes.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Justice, this team of 47 tribal leaders will be called “al-Awaref,” selected by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior in virtue of a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Justice and to be charged with several tasks, most notably reducing the expansion of tribal conflicts and focusing on “bringing about community peace” in Iraqi provinces.

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