3What are the implications of the foregoing for the quality of democracy, particularly in multiethniccountries? The paper has an Andean bias because I have done most of my research in the five Andeancountries, but also because those countries are most advanced in recognizing the authority of informallegal systems.
SURVEY OF INFORMAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS
In this section I describe three forms of informal community justice systems: indigenous law,the
of northern Peru, and urban community law in Bolivia.
Indigenous Peoples’ Law
Prior to the arrival of Europeans the peoples indigenous to the Americas
established systemsof political and juridical self-government. Thus, indigenous law has a special character with respect tostate law: its existence and authority precedes the creation of the state (Gómez 2000: 5; Villoro 1997:113). The imposition of colonial rule, however, had an enormous impact on these systems. In somecases they were destroyed. Elsewhere they were transformed and adapted to the subordination of indigenous authorities to colonial rule. Colonial administrators tolerated the normative, administrative,and jurisdictional activities of indigenous authorities to manage minor, internal matters confined tospheres that did not impinge on “divine and human law” (Yrigoyen 2000: 206). Indigenous authoritiesserved as useful intermediaries between colonial authorities and the native population and an efficientmeans of indirect social control. Some indigenous legal systems originated in the colonial period.They were established as links between the community and colonial authorities, or were created andimposed by colonial authorities. Over time, Indians appropriated these systems, adapted them, andmade them their own. The classic model of indigenous authority dating to this period is the