The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has set out minimum standards for an effective National Peace Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and called upon Parliament to accelerate its establishment in an open and transparent manner.
Speaking to members of the Press in Harare yesterday, NTJWG Chairperson Alec Muchadehama said it was important to acknowledge that the NPRC has a constitutional foundation urging any other actors to resist any temptation to limit or dilute the constitutional provisions establishing the NPRC.
The NTJWG also called upon Parliament to put in place a law that operationalizes the NPRC. “A good NPRC Bill must measure to the minimum standards which are internationally acceptable and in harmony with the expectations of the majority of Zimbabweans.”
The NTJWG has also called upon Parliament to increase public participation when setting up a commission charged with bringing post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation and said commissioners should be vetted. “The nominated commissioners should not be selected secretly and announced suddenly. Their selection must be subjected to scrutiny and public discussion,” Muchadehama said.
Among the several standards that the NTJWG laid out was protection of victims and witnesses, privacy and confidentiality and provisions for persons with special needs, adequate funding and resource mobilization for the commission and the power to subpoena witnesses. The minimum standards also include guidelines for gender mainstreaming outlining the need for the NPRC to make gender both an area of special focus and a cross-cutting theme,
Antony Reeler a member of the NTJWG said their hope is that the NPRC consults on how far they should go back in addressing past injustices.
While members of the media doubted the reality of the NPRC, Muchadehama said it was the responsibility of every Zimbabwean to push for the establishment of the NPRC. The group has pledged to support any national process that brings healing and justice to Zimbabwe.