Source: (2007) International Journal of Civil Society Law. 5(2):7-22.

Both restorative justice and amnesty involve complex and controversial issues that lend themselves to lengthy analysis.Likewise, the nexus between restorative justice and amnesty offers a wealth of interesting topics that have and undoubtedly will continue to be discussed and debated. However, this paper is necessarily limited in its scope. Consequently, this paper will not address the legal legitimacy of amnesty, nor will it address the moral contours of amnesty beyond those implicated by restorative justice. Similarly, this paper will not examine the merits of alternative justifications of amnesty. While the scope of this paper does not lend itself to a historical discussion of amnesty, the South African experience will serve as a general case study. Finally, this paper will not directly assess the merits of restorative justice as a theory of criminal punishment, although some of the criticisms implicitly involve criticism of restorative justice theory.This paper will focus on the specific use of restorative justice as a basis for granting conditional amnesty. To that end, Part II will briefly discuss the difference between conditional and unconditional amnesty, and explain why unconditional amnesty can never serve the interests of restorative justice. Part III examines the restorative justice model, both as a general theory of criminal punishment and as applied to amnesty situations. Part IV critiques the use of classical restorative justice as a justification for amnesty, focusing largely on the South African experience. Part V offers recommendations for a refined restorative justice amnesty regime, and Part VI concludes with a brief summary. (excerpt)

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