State of Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe – 2019

Executive Summary

Welcome to the 2019 Edition of the State of Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe Report. This report carries out an audit of Zimbabwe’s state of compliance with its transitional justice obligation, both domestic and international. These obligations emerge from primarily the Constitution of Zimbabwe, other statutes, reports and recommendations of independent commissions and other bodies mandated by law to carry out any inquiries or investigations into transitional justice issues. Obligations also arise from recommendations of United Nations bodies, special mandates and other soft law.

The report goes further to also track important transitional justice processes like the activities of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), non-state actors and matters emerging from such processes. It highlights both the activities carried out by the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG), transitional justice stakeholders (CSOs and survivors) and the activities implemented by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). The report documents the initiatives that have been made by official transitional justice actors and identifies the gaps and failures while recommending possible solutions. The objective of this report is to give account of the major transitional justice developments emanating from 2019 and make recommendations for the enhancement of transitional justice processes to make them more effective.

Key among the issues discussed herein are issues around the court ruling on the interpretation of the constitutional provision relating to the lifespan of the NPRC to 2028 as expressed in the case of Concilia Chinanzvavana v Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; the contentious issue of the exhumations of human remains in areas where mass human rights violations occurred in Zimbabwe, the highly contentious issue of national dialogue vis a vis the role of the NPRC and the need for the NPRC to be more active in ensuring government compensate victims of past human rights abuses such as victims of the 1st of August 2018 violence.

During the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, the African Union (AU) adopted the AU Transitional Justice Policy.

The Policy is a continental guideline for AU Member States to achieve sustainable peace, justice, reconciliation, social cohesion and healing which calls for peaceful resolution of conflicts, respect for the sanctity of human life, and the condemnation and rejection of impunity. This is a big step for transitional justice in Africa, where many countries have been struggling with dealing with the past and moving towards reconciled, peaceful and just societies.

The Key Findings of this report are as follows:

  • There has been no traction in establishing outstanding constitutional transitional justice bodies like the Independent Complaints Mechanism.
  • Recommendations made by the Motlanthe Commission have not been implemented especially recommendations relating to compensation for victims.
  • The NPRC has failed to produce its 2018 annual report within the timeframe stipulated by law.
  • Lack of funding has hampered the full implementation of the NPRC Strategy including establishing a competent Secretariat.
  • Uncertainty continues regarding the longevity of the NPRC mandate after the government challenged the High Court ruling stating that the clock of life for the NPRC started ticking when the NPRC Act was promulgated in 2018.
  • The security sector continued with serious violations of human rights without the perpetrators being held to account.
  • There is still not comprehensive transitional justice policy for Zimbabwe to guide transitional justice processes such as institutional reforms, memorialisation, promotion of truth, reparations, justice and accountability.
  • There is no formal inclusive national dialogue process ongoing, although there a number of fragmented informal dialogue processes.

Read the full report here (51MB PDF)

Source: National Transitional Justice Working Group

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