Source: (2007) International Journal of Transitional Justice. 1:208-230.

When states are attempting to recover from periods of serious human rights abuse, they often must try to reconcile the competing demands of different stakeholders. These demands may range from claims that complete impunity is a necessary sacrifice to achieve peace, to the belief that without justice no meaningful peace can be reached. This paper will attempt to highlight the ways in which international courts and quasi-judicial bodies address the dilemma of peace versus justice, in relation to amnesty laws. The discussion will consider the main international standards on impunity, the international jurisprudence relating to amnesties and whether international courts should recognize amnesties that are accompanied by alternative forms of justice. This paper will argue that international courts should recognize amnesties that are introduced with democratic approval to promote peace and reconciliation, provided that they are accompanied by mechanisms to fulfil the victims’ rights. (author's abstract)