The Question of Amnesty: Balancing Truth and Justice Essay

3099 Words 13 Pages
Amnesties and the Views of Victims
For many victims of violence, human rights advocates and many others affected by human rights violations, amnesties represent the basest of pragmatic accommodations with former despots, murderers, and torturers. At first thought, amnesties do not give the impression of working at the victim’s favor but for the benefit of political leaders, elites and the perpetrators themselves. When societies accept amnesty, victims assume a position of forgetting the past actions of military and political power for the concept of forgiveness. Rights such as truth and justice are sacrificed for political stability. Where amnesties deny victims their rights to truth, justice, and reparations, they can potentially
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For example, amnesties are combined with other transitional justice mechanisms, including prosecutions, truth commissions, vetting programs, and reparations measures. Given the preponderance of amnesties in peacemaking efforts and the developments in the international standards which regulate what may or may not be included in such measures, a more balanced approach to the amnesty issue is required in order to bridge more effectively the peace and justice divide.

Amnesty as a Response to National and International Responsibility
Transitional justice involves questions and complications concerning how to heal and restore whole societies. The vindication of victims significantly eases the tension between justice and the politics of making peace. Achieving “world peace” is ideal but not always realistic. When simply looking at where an amnesty has widespread democratic support, including the backing of victims’ groups, international courts should balance this support against other criteria by which an amnesty is evaluated (Mallinder 221). The rulings of international courts can affect national amnesties by clarifying the extent of a state’s obligations under international law. Amnesty could, however, violate the states’ obligations under international law to guarantee the victims’ right to a remedy, including their right to truth, to see the offenders prosecuted and punished, and to obtain

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