Restitution and Legal Pluralism in Contexts of Displacement

Barbara McCallin
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Recent years have seen an increased recognition of the need to address the housing, land, and property (HLP) rights of displaced populations in post-conflict situations; however, the implementation of restitution programs is challenged by the fact that in most countries affected by internal displacement, access to land is regulated under customary law and held under informal tenure. This paper examines the value and limitations of HLP restitution in contexts of customary land tenure and legal pluralism and examines the role that customary justice can play as part of a transitional justice process. It argues that actors involved with restitution and broader efforts to reinstate justice, the rule of law, and democracy in post-conflict and transitional contexts should engage, albeit under certain conditions, with non-state justice mechanisms.