Journal of
Law and Conflict Resolution

  • Abbreviation: J. Law Conflict. Resolut
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9804
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLCR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 102


Contested authorities alternatives to State law and order in post-conflict Guatemala

Ami C. Carpenter*, Anu Lawrence and Milburn Line
University of San Diego 5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 01 November 2012
  •  Published: 30 April 2013


This study analyzes the contested authorities that deal with land and criminal conflict in the Ixil Region of Guatemala. We studied the local laws, customs and actors governing the use of violence, conflict resolution and justice. Actors included indigenous NGOs, individual leaders (community and municipal), youth gangs, armed security patrols, and organized criminal networks. Findings suggest that the Guatemalan State competes for authority with alternative forms of governance in the Ixil Region of Guatemala. Specifically, control over violence and rulemaking arecontested and negotiated across three institutional categories: methods of controlimposed by local security groups and organized criminal networks; indigenous and constitutional law; and municipal, auxiliary and indigenous mayors. Our findings suggest that while violence may be reduced to the extent that these social networks overlap, weak rule of law will continue to negatively impact human rights and security in this region.


Key words: Conflict resolution, Guatemala, governance, law, alternative governance, organized crime, indigenous law, criminal networks, Derecho Maya, land conflict.