The Transitional Justice (TJ) Unit spearheads the Forums work to rebuild social trust, repair a fractured justice system, and build a democratic system of governance that addresses past human rights violations through both judicial and non-judicial approaches.
Even before independence civil society in Zimbabwe has been pushing for reform and accountability to break the culture of brutality and impunity. This culture was inherited by the majority government in 1980 with most of the repressive laws still in place. The civil society in Zimbabwe continued to push for necessary reforms.
From 11 to 13 August 2003 a Symposium was held in Johannesburg on Civil Society and Justice in Zimbabwe. At the end of the Symposium several recommendations were made which mainly emphasised the need for accountability for past violations and prevention of future violations. The Symposium also emphasised the need for a victim-centred transitional justice approach. Pursuant to these resolutions and recommendations made at subsequent meetings the Forum created its TJ unit to implement these resolutions. The Taking Transitional Justice to the People
Programme,was the first such attempt and it sought to take the transitional justice agenda to the victims of past violations and to establish the people’s understanding of and commitment to the concept.