The LRF works with authorities and institutions to strengthen the justice system. We identify barriers to accessing justice and address these through building the capacities of officials responsible for the administration and delivery of justice. Our programmes improve the delivery of justice in rural and marginalised areas, both through building the capacity of traditional leaders across the country on professional court processes and also individuals by making them aware of how the customary law courts function and the rights of litigants in the courts. We also work with the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (Victim friendly Unit) by building their capacity to improve the way they discharge their mandates.
The LRF improves access to justice for the rural populace through training of Chiefs and Headmen. We recognise that rural communities rely on these courts to access justice. We also conduct awareness raising sessions, empowering communities and individuals on their rights as they relate to customary law courts and also making them aware of how the courts function.
Our training of Prison Officers is aimed at capacity building of the officers while at the same time reducing human rights violations in the prisons. The officers are trained on the Mandela Rules on the treatment of inmates, the Constitution, the Declaration of Rights and special categories of prisoners, such as juveniles and the mentally handicapped. This initiative is much appreciated by the Prison Officers who have testified that the training improves the way in which they handle inmates.
We train police officers from the Victim Friendly Unit on the essential elements of sexual offences, gender-based violence, child rights and child sexual abuse, child marriages, the rights of accused persons as provided in the Constitution and the management and preparation of dockets. The trainings that were conducted between 2016 -20 revealed that most acquittals in Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases arise from limited capacity by police officers to handle cases presented to them. This has led to loss of confidence in the justice delivery system by victims of SGBV. This in turn affects reporting of cases. LRF training sessions ensure that police officers are better equipped to handle Gender Based Violence cases, ensuring that justice prevails for survivors.