Member of Leibniz Association
Research Departments
Conflicts and Indigenous Justice in the Andes (Peru and Ecuador)

The research project was embedded in a training programme which InWEnt was carrying out between 2004 - 2008 in Peru and Ecuador, financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Since 2010 the project is continued by the "Coordination Office for Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean" at the GTZ and has been implemented into the PROINDIGENA project under the title Conflict Reduction between National and Indigenous Judiciary in Peru and Ecuador. PRIF is project leader. The aim of the project is the strengthening of the legal framework as well as the promotion of cooperation and coordination between the two legal systems.


The Context: In the face of the shortcomings of the state administration of the justice system, the people in rural areas of Peru and Ecuador have developed a system of customary law and an informal judiciary based on their own indigenous culture. These systems have now gained constitutional recognition. However, human rights and constitutional guarantees are not always respected. At the same time, the competences of the indigenous and national judiciary are not clearly defined and differentiated from each other. Both factors led to institutional and social conflicts.


Objectives: The project was designed to develop – together with the target groups – a future law for the coordination of the municipal/indigenous justice (customary law) and the national justice for Peru and Ecuador. Within the law the competencies and limits of the two legal systems will be defined. The final draft is supposed to be presented to the public and recommended for legislation to the Congress (Peru) and the Asamblea Nacional (Ecuador). The project’s aim is to contribute to the reduction of institutional conflicts between the national and the indigenous judiciary in Peru and Ecuador. Within the research area of the project two studies will be realised with scientific support of PRIF and the partner organisations IDL (Peru) and CIDES (Ecuador):

a) The realisation of an analysis and systematisation of the recent change in the penal jurisprudence of the national law courts in order to strengthen the jurisdiction and the legal framework for indigenous justice by publication of the results.

b) Another study is designed to uncover the factors (variables) that are – from the view of the actors within the judiciary – influencing the change of the law perception, the trials and judgments within the indigenous judiciary.


Measures: Workshops with representatives of indigenous organisations, judges, public prosecutors, state representatives and politicians; publications.


Germany: GTZ, Coordination Office for Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean, http://www.gtz.de/en/weltweit/lateinamerika-karibik/regionale-themen/7346.htm
Peru: Instituto de Defensa Legal, Lima, http://www.idl.org.pe
Ecuador: CIDES - Centro sobre derecho y sociedad, Quito, http://www.cides.org.ec

Current Publications

Research Fellows:
Hans-Jürgen Brandt