Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

The War and its Aftermath: Social (Dis)integration, Traditional Justice and the Quest for Social Healing and Community Transformation in Northern Liberia

John Idriss Lahai


This study examines the nature of social (dis)integration during the Liberian Civil War and the engendered nature of wartime violence and patterns of community dislocation in Northern Liberia. While communities disintegrated and relationships were broken, the levels of interaction also meant that societies where re-created. In the aftermath of the conflict, the need to rebuild relationships and prevent the eruption of further violence led to contested visions of and routes to reconciliation. In Northern Liberia, as demonstrated in this article, inasmuch as people were receptive to the conventional methods of seeking justice and peace, the ritualized nature of the war also meant that people sought other non-conventional and traditional means to deal with culturally sensitive violence issues as a way of memorializing the past and prevent manage post-war incidences of violence. Using a longitudinal folknographic research method, this paper explores the role of traditional justice processes in community transformation and social healing in Northern Liberia.


Traditional; Justice; Peace; Gender; War; Reconciliation

Full Text:


West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

Published by Africa Resource Center, Inc. All inquiries about rights, permissions, reprints and license should be directed to AfricaResource.

Copyright © Africa Resource Center, Inc., 1999 - .