Clan Structures Arise in Societies With Dysfunctional States and Legal Systems

Criminal gangs buy themselves free from serious violence crimes, a mother is offered money after an assassination attempt on her son and families resolve conflicts on their own. Police and researchers warn that society is being challenged by alternative justice systems.

This is how society is challenged by alternative administration of justice.
Representatives of several criminal groups sit in the large hotel foyer. They have ordered soft drinks at the bar and taken off their jackets. Men are neither aggressive nor annoying to other guests, but their presence still stands out.

When the staff after a while asks the group to leave the hotel, the men announce that they are not done with their conversation.

In total, there are about 20 men who enter the centrally located Posthotellet in Gothenburg on a Wednesday at the end of August. Among them, according to consistent information, is the so-called so-called family network from Angered and their rivals in the more loosely composed Backagänget. The meeting is only interrupted when about ten police units arrive.

-When we ask them to go, they do so without bargaining. It goes smoothly, says Dan Windt, chief of police area in Gothenburg south.

The fact that criminals are seen and resolve conflicts that may be about serious crimes according to their own form of “justice” is a growing phenomenon, according to police and experts. These are often crimes that no one wants to talk to the police about and that in many cases never reach the courtrooms.

Many also suggest that the meeting participants at Posthotellet reached their goal – to create peace. According to information to Aftonbladet, “a couple of hundred thousand” SKR must have been paid by one of the gangs as compensation for a previous shooting that was the cause of the recent conflict between the gangs.

Prosecutors have also noticed an alternative administration of justice in that various forms of conflict resolution or pressure are taking place outside the courtrooms for crimes that rarely go to trial.

Prosecutors in Malmö have previously warned that gang members can buy themselves free, and said that it could be half a million SKR for an attempted murder. In one case, which was referred to, a mother was offered money for her son to take back the testimony against the two gangs who shot at him. The mother refused, but the son changed his story during the trial. In that case, the men were still convicted in the end thanks to other witnesses and evidence.

According to the police and criminologist Amir Rostami, there are several types of criminal organizations that challenge the Swedish legal community in different ways. More important than if they are family-based is the level of organization, according to him.

-In areas where the state does not have full control, they fill the role and create what is sometimes called parallel societies. It can consist of protection activities, credit lending, extortion and mediation that make residents dependent on them. And then it can just as easily be about other types of criminal organizations as about family-based networks, he says.

Amir Rostami says the state is being challenged by mafia-like organizations. The latter, however, can have some advantages when it comes to building a well-functioning organization, according to Amir Rostami. While other gangs have to work hard to socialize to create trust within the group, the relationships within the family are already consolidated.

Whether the criminal organizations are based on family relationships or not, Amir Rostami believes that their development must be stopped. He likens it to the drop of water that erodes a rock. The drop is the activities of the criminals, the stone the Swedish legal society.

-Right now the consequences are very local. But if they are not checked, they will not stay there. These groups constantly want more power.

The author Per Brinkemo is just getting into a taxi on the way to the bar association’s training premises when SvD reaches him. His focus is on another aspect of the alternative administration of justice – how family-based networks and clans create influence in areas, resolve conflicts and criminal cases outside society’s systems. Something that does not have to do with organized crime.

Clan structures arise in societies with dysfunctional states and legal systems, in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The clan is then needed to create security, order and peace, Brinkemo says. What then arises is also called customary law: rules that are traditionally and traditionally accepted as a kind of legal system.

Compensation for crime and wrongdoing is often paid, with an emphasis on reconciling the collective – for example two families. These are methods for conflict resolution that basically have nothing to do with crime, but according to Per Brinkemo, problems can in some cases arise when collectivist clan structures and mistrust

Per Brinkemo believes that parallel administration of justice within clan structures, which he wrote about, must be opposed. He sees Germany as a role model for how the problems can be taken seriously and for how the police cooperate with other authorities in special clan units.

Per Brinkemo believes that the mediation meeting at the Posthotellet in Gothenburg was successful because both parties understood the clan structure’s rules for resolving conflicts.

-One grouping was a more distinct clan organization. The other is more loosely composed but still sprung from similar roots so they understood and could accept this as a kind of trial, and paid to avoid blood revenge.

Source: SvD

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