Maroon justice in Suriname: Pasts and presents worth fighting for
SourceContemporary Justice Review, 26, 1, (2023), pp. 71-92
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Contemporary Justice Review
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
Maroon societies are seriously understudied in the restorative justice (RJ) field, which is odd considering their age-old struggle against retributive justice systems. Precisely because the rise of Maroons can be understood as an attempt to 'reappropriate conflict' and bring back legal protection to formerly enslaved African-Americans who had been subjected to the crudest of laws under colonial regimes, we should not forget that history when considering how RJ can contribute to or replace criminal justice systems in the 21st century. In Suriname, a renewed interest in the Maroons has recently boosted the RJ movement. Against the background of a discussion between maximalists and abolitionists, we reactivate the 'transferability debate' by asking if and how maroon justice in the country's interior can be brought to the city and help its criminal justice system to develop RJ. Our answer combines 20th century anthropologists' work on maroon justice in Suriname with the first steps that we have taken in our own ethnography with ex-detained Maroon and Creole youth in Paramaribo and their receptiveness to hypothetical RJ measures.
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