What is community justice in Bolivia?

Imagine a form of justice delivered by your neighbours and the community that surrounds you, independent of governmental authority?

It may sound implausible and antiquated but it is a new reality in Bolivia, where in January, the people of Bolivia approved the text of a new national Constitution, whose provisions included official recognition of "community justice" as a means of resolving conflicts and adjudicating criminal offenses in indigenous communities.

The University of Lethbridge will be hosting Rutgers University professor Daniel M. Goldstein Thursday afternoon, 3 p.m. in AH100 as he addresses this topic. Goldstein, a professor in Rutgers' Department of Anthropology, will be presenting "Community Justice and Citizen Security in Bolivia".

For some observers, the inclusion of community justice within national law is a recognition of the "traditional" juridical practices of indigenous Bolivians, and a vital affirmation of indigenous rights by the Bolivian state. For others, community justice represents the dilution of state authority and the incorporation into law of an unenforceable, arbitrary system, a discourse that is used to justify vigilante violence and other human rights violations.

Goldstein will discuss just what is community justice in Bolivia, and what is its relationship to efforts to create security for Bolivian citizens. This presentation explores the conflicts and contradictions that underlie this controversial moment in Latin American political and social life.

The event is co-sponsored by the U of L Anthropology Department with the Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group (LPIRG) and the President's Office.