Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International said Zimbabwe must renounce past abuses and transition to a new era, in which those who are responsible for past injustices must be held accountable.
The organisation's comments came after Robert Mugabe's resigned as Zimbabwean president on Tuesday.
"After more than three decades of violent repression, the way forward for the country is to renounce the abuses of the past and transition into a new era, where the rule of law is respected and those who are responsible for injustices are held to account," Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International said in a statement.
"During 37 years of President Mugabe's leadership, tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed. President Mugabe condoned human rights violations, defended criminal actions of his officials and allowed a culture of impunity for grotesque crimes to thrive."
Shetty said that, although Zimbabwe invested heavily in social services in the early years of independence, much of this progress was wiped out by later events such as the Operation Murambatsvina - a forced evictions campaign of 2005, which destroyed the homes or livelihoods of 700 000 people.
"The people of Zimbabwe deserve better. The next generation of leaders must commit itself to upholding the constitution, living up to Zimbabwe's international human rights obligations and treating its people with dignity and justice."