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Kritarchy refers to the rule of judges (Hebrew: שופטים, shoftim) in ancient Israel during the period of time described in the Book of Judges. Because it is a compound of the Greek words κριτής, krites ("judge") and ἄρχω, árkhō ("to rule"), its use has expanded to cover rule by judges in the modern sense, as well, as in the case of the Somalia, ruled by judges with the tradition of xeer, as well as the Islamic Courts Union.
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