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Title: To forgive but not forget? amnesties, transition and the price of peace
Author: Mallinder, M. L.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3617 6268
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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Amnesty laws are political tools that have been used since ancient times by states wishing to quell dissent, introduce reforms, or achieve peace with their enemies. More recendy, they have been seen as violating the provisions of international law, particularly the rights of victims. This view is ~sputed by ~--'} political negotiators who often argue that amnesty is a necessary price to pay to achieve a stable, peaceful, and equitable system of government. This thesis aims to investigate whether amnesties necessarily entail a violation of a state's international obligations, or whether amnesties can contribute positively to both peace and justice, when it is accompanied by altern~tive justice mechanisms. This study began by constructing a database containing information on 421 amnesties in all regions of the world since the Second World War. The database and the chapter structure corresponds with key aspects of amnesty laws: their objectives, recipients, crimes, and conditions. In assessing conditional amnesties, related transitional justice processes were considered. Subsequendy, the jurisprudence on amnesties from national courts and international tribunals. Finally, the attitudes of the international community, victims, and perpetrators was analysed. The information gathered revealed a wide disparity in state practice relating to the types of amnesty laws introduced, with some aiming to provide victims with a remedy, whereas other aimed to create complete impunity. To date, few trends in amnesty laws are apparent, although it appears that amnesties offering blanket, unconditional immunity for state agents are declining. Overall, it appears that amnesties have gained in popularity since the 1990s and that consequendy, rather than trying to dissuade states fro~ using them, the international community should instead work to limit the more negative forms of amnesty by encouraging states to make them conditional and to introduce complementary programmes to repair the harm and prevent a repetition of the crimes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available