Executive Summary Zimbabwe is a country that has been the subject of sustained impunity for gross human rights violations, from the pre-colonial period to present. Acts of gross human rights violations that include extra-judicial killings, murders, torture displacements, enforced starvation, and detentions, amongst other human rights violations have been committed with impunity. This has raised demands for accountability through transitional justice processes and mechanisms. Generally, transitional justice usually occurs following some kind of political change, with a country moving from a situation characterised by gross human rights violations into a democratic dispensation. In principle, significant political change must occur first in order to allow a country to address the violations of the previous political dispensation. However, for many countries as demonstrated in this study such a political transition may be difficult or even impossible, and yet there may be demand for justice from the victims of gross human rights violations as is the case with Zimbabwe. This study is based on the major premise that Zimbabwe has had only one major transition that is from colonial settler rule in 1980, although there have been some political accommodations such as the 1997 Unity Accord and the 2008 Global Political Agreement. The study seeks answers to the question; “What transitional justice processes and mechanisms are possible in a state where gross human rights violations continue to be perpetrated, with no genuine political transformation and where the state is predatory, authoritarian, and violent?” The main objective of this study is to establish the risks and opportunities of a civil societydriven transitional justice process using the examples of previous attempts by other countries. Quantitative evidence from international experiences with transitional justice revealed the following:  more than half of the transitions were negotiated, with regime-led transitions being twice as common as opposition-led transitions;  negotiated transitions, whether regime or opposition-led, seemed more possible where the form of government was either civilian or military-institutional;  pre-transitional processes revolved almost totally around amnesties and domestic criminal prosecutions, but, these amnesties were mostly to do deal with political opposition to the regime, such as coups or mutinies or establishing impunity;  negotiated transitions, whether regime or opposition-led, seemed more possible where the form of government was either civilian or military-institutional;  and that all forms of transitional justice increase markedly in frequency once a transition takes place. The study also compares Africa with the rest of the world and discovers that there were virtually no differences in transitional justice mechanisms between African and other countries, either pre or post-transition. However, African countries tend to have more likely emerged from an authoritarian regime based on a single individual, generally described as the „big man‟ syndrome. Thus, transitional justice mechanisms as a whole are a necessary precondition in the movement from authoritarian to democratic governance. In establishing a case for Zimbabwe, the study reveals that all the three regime typologies that are civilian-institutional, civilian-individual, or military-institutional co- exist in Zimbabwe. 2

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