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Second international conference on transitional justice in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
October 08
, 2013

Zimbabweans’ aspiration for sustainable peace

The Forum, through its Transitional Justice Unit, has been carrying out transitional justice outreach and peace building work in Zimbabwe for several years now. This has been done in a quest to find appropriate redress for both victims and survivors of human rights violations, but also to foster a culture of peace in communities and the rest of the Zimbabwean society. During most of the meetings in communities, one of the questions that recurred was “What on earth is more important to humanity than finding lasting peace?” As one would imagine, the consensus was, “It is difficult to think of any”. Finding lasting peace is therefore an overarching aspiration for Zimbabweans from diverse walks of life, which is why the Forum’s Transitional Justice Unit has been at the forefront in ensuring that this not only becomes one of the rallying points in Zimbabwe’s current policy discourse but also in turn becomes a living reality in communities and in our society.

Peace and reconciliation provisions in new constitution

On 21 May 2013, President Robert Mugabe signed into law Zimbabwe’s new constitution. This constitution recognizes Zimbabwe’s desire for peace and reconciliation by providing a mechanism for pursuit of such. The new constitution provides for the establishment of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). The Commission has, among others, the function to bring about national reconciliation by encouraging people to tell the truth about the past, facilitate the making of amends, the provision of justice and also to receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints as the Commission considers appropriate.

Comparative lessons from other countries

In a world were over 30 commissions have been formed to deal with the similar issues that Zimbabwe faces today, it would be naïve for Zimbabwe not to learn from the experiences of her neighbours in the region and friends the world over. In this regard, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) and The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) have organized the Second International Conference on Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe (the Conference) to allow stakeholders and policy makers to interact with the experiences of other countries that have established such commissions before.

Current Transitional Justice Conference in Johannesburg

The conference which takes place from 9 to 11 October 2013 in Johannesburg, will bring together current and former commissioners from four countries that have established commissions in the past, distinguished scholars and practitioners in the area of justice and reconciliation from the world over, and stakeholders from Zimbabwe who will share experiences, interrogate issues and make recommendations that ensure that Zimbabwe will get a competent and effective Commission that fulfills its constitutional mandate and meets the expectations of the people of Zimbabwe.

Commissioners, former commissioners and scholars from Kenya, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Germany and Northern Ireland will guide participants into the nitty gritties of how a commission is put together and the issues and challenges related. The keynote address will be delivered by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Professor Pablo de Greiff.

Objectives of the Conference

The Conference aims to meet the following objectives:

  • Provide a platform for stakeholders to contribute to the establishment of a credible and effective National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) capable of fulfilling its constitutional mandate.
  • Set out the minimum expectations of the people of Zimbabwe regarding truth, post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation as enshrined in the new constitution.
  • Provide training for government and CSOs in advocacy, engagement and responses to practical challenges and issues emerging from NPRC
  • Share experiences and lessons learnt from other countries

Expected outputs of the Conference

The organisers expect the conference to deliver the following outputs

  • Minimum expectations and essential elements for a credible and effective National Peace and Reconciliation Commission of Zimbabwe
  • A draft legal framework and operational guidelines for the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission
  • Recommendations on support mechanisms and complementary processes to ensure a guarantee of non-recurrence and attainment of true justice, healing and reconciliation that leads to durable peace
  • Enhanced capacity for government and CSOs to effectively advocate, engage and respond to issues and potential challenges of NPRC

Visit the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum fact sheet

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