chapter  10
16 Pages

Patterns of Legal Mixing in Eritrea: Examining the Impact of Customary Law, Islamic Law, Colonial Law, Socialist Law, and Authoritarian Revolutionary Dogma

ByDaniel R. Mekonnen

With a history of only 21 years since independence, Eritrea is the second-youngest country in Africa, the youngest country being the newly independent state of South Sudan. The Eritrean legal system derives its influence from more than two legal traditions or legal families. Thus, building on the definition of William Tetley (2003), one can describe Eritrea as a typical example of a country with characteristics of a mixed jurisdiction. In this context, a mixed jurisdiction is defined as “a political unit (a country or its political subdivisions) in which a mixed legal system prevails.” (Tetley 2003: 181). A mixed legal system “is one in which its force is derived from more than one legal tradition or family.” (Tetley 2003: 183). And the term legal system “refers to the nature and content of the law generally, as well as the structures and methods whereby the law is legislated upon, adjudicated upon, and administered, within a jurisdiction” (Tetley 2003: 181).1