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Long road to healing in Zimbabwe

December 12, 2009

….The last day was spent focused on reconciliation
and what the facilitator called, “The perpetrator’s journey.”
Presentations were made focusing on the two common responses to
perpetrators of violence: retributive justice, punishing the
perpetrators for wrong-doing, or national amnesty, allowing
perpetrators back into the community without any punishment or
acknowledgement of the offense. Both responses have their attractive
benefits and yet each is inadequate in resolving the needs and
suffering of both victim and perpetrator.

third option, restorative justice, was then advocated by presenters, in
which the community brings victims and perpetrators into dialogue for
the purpose of mediating an accountable reconciliation between them.
Restorative justice allows victims to share their story and be heard,
gain information about the violence done to them, restore their
personal power, and gain restitution. Restorative justice also ensures
perpetrators understand the consequence of their actions, empathize
with the victims, make amends to victims, own their need for healing,
and are responsibly integrated back into the community.

the end of the day the pastors and community leaders began to design
practical plans for a national movement of healing and reconciliation.
They drafted a letter of recommendations to be given to the national
government asking that church and grassroots community leaders be
placed in charge of national programs, they planned workshops within
their communities that would teach the process of forgiveness,
reconciliation, and restorative justice. Plans were made to begin
documenting the names and experience of victims and the names and
locations of perpetrators….

Read the whole article.


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