Transitional justice, or the pursuit of comprehensive justice during times of political transition, encompasses criminal justice, restorative justice, social justice and economic justice. It stresses the necessity for truth-seeking mechanisms to be put in place to redress the wrongs of the past and consider ways in which gross violations of human rights can be prevented in the future.
This report, “Who Will Dare Begin the Process of Recovering the Truth” (Volume Two of the Taking Transitional Justice to the People Outreach Report) sets out the experiences of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, its members and associates, who conducted outreach meetings in fifty-one constituencies in its community-based programme to take the concept of transitional justice to the community. Reports of the initial fourteen meetings were included in Volume One, published in June 2009.
The concepts of criminal justice, restorative justice, social justice and economic justice guided the meetings, and participants recorded their recommendations to achieve these goals under a variety of headings of their choice. These included: accountability; compensation for victims of political violence; reparations for damages and rehabilitation for both victims and perpetrators of such violence; restoration of justice and the rule of law; impunity; institutional reform and the role of political leaders, the police and the army; electoral reforms; media reform; a clear distinction between the roles of the church and the state; and who could and should lead the process of achieving meaningful transitional justice.
The overriding plea of all the participants was for truth recovery and truth disclosure to redress the human rights abuses of the past and in so doing foster true national reconciliation.