Exploring Transitional Justice Options in Contemporary Zimbabwe

The situation in Zimbabwe presents a related, yet somewhat different, challenge to traditional post-conflict transitional justice situations. As the country remains in the grip of a repressive nationalistic regime, prospects for meaningful change in the short term remain doubtful. Indeed, the situation looks set to continue deteriorating, especially in the wake of ZANU(PF)’s victory in the March 2005 parliamentary elections, and the subsequent systematic purging and relocation of the urban poor under the auspices of ‘Operation Murambatsvina’.

This report is investigating transitional justice options in Zimbabwe in the light of the 2004 and August 2003 symposiums, where related issues have been on the table. In 2003, there was considerable speculation about the prospects of political talks, and even some sort of ‘negotiated settlement’ between the ruling ZANU(PF) and the opposition MDC. Three and half years of deterioration had resulted in considerable pressure from the international community and especially some African countries for dialogue between Zimbabwe’s two main political parties.

This report is divided into three sections: exploring what has been done, as well as options and constraints around widening of the debate on transitional justice options; a review of human- rights data collection in Zimbabwe, with a particular focus on quantitative data collection; and an overview/assessment of existing human rights reports on Zimbabwe.

The report is intended as a resource and provides a framework for further engagement around certain transitional options. It also contains a number of recommendations on taking forward some of the various processes under consideration.

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Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.