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Coltart calls for truth commission

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Education minister David Coltart says Zimbabwe is on a knife edge and focus on short term retribution against alleged perpetrators of human rights violations in the post-President Robert Mugabe era could result in coups.

In a recent interview with an American publication during a trip to Washington DC, Coltart, who is also MDC secretary for legal affairs, said Zimbabwe needed a truth commission to deal with human rights issues in a post-Mugabe era.

“It’s a very complicated issue, and the danger of focusing exclusively on the past is that it may prevent any positive future from emerging,” he said.

“We are on a knife’s edge in some respects. If we focus on the short-term on retribution for past evils, we may well drive those responsible for crimes against humanity into having coup and seizing power to protect themselves.”

Asked if he prefers an amnesty Coltart said “No. And, I’m not speaking as government now, but rather as secretary of legal affairs of our party. We believe that the most important elements to address this would be through truth-telling process.
“Specifically, through a truth commission, not a truth, justice, and reconciliation commission,” he said.

“We believe that victims should be given the opportunity to say what happened to them and their loved ones and secondly, they should be able to tell us what should happen regarding justice and reconciliation.”

Coltart said it should not be up to lawyers and politicians to determine what measures were needed to achieve justice.

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