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MANAGING LAND DISPUTES IN ETHIOPIA

In an agrarian society, like Ethiopia, where lion share of the population relies on land rights for livelihoods and welfare, access to land is fundamental to be capable of existence as a free and dignified human being. Conflict may virtually arise in any social setting. It is unavoidable in human society.

Ethiopia has had many land disputes, to the extent that land cases make up about 70% of the total cases in courts of law. There are a lot of avenues for resolution of land related disputes in Ethiopia. Land Administration Committees at local (kebele) level are by default the first institution of choice to attend to land disputes because they are local and provide virtually free judicial services. The second

institution is the dual judicial system with two parallel court structures: the federal courts and the state courts with their own independent structures and administrations. State courts operate both at regional state, zonal and district (woreda) levels. The Land Administration Committees at kebele level, mediators at local level, and the courts at woreda, zonal, regional, and federal levels, handle land cases on a day-to-day basis. Administrative bodies also entertain land cases which are of administrative nature. There are also quasi-judicial institutions established to hold hearings on specific land matters (for instance on expropriation).

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