Source: (1999) University of Toronto Law Journal. 49: 389.

In the wake of the final report of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Dan Markel reviews the South African experience to determine what can be learned about criminal justice in recovering states. He focuses on what he calls the TRC’s “particularized amnestyâ€? – the granting of immunity from criminal and civil liability after a process of encounter between perpetrator and state wherein the perpetrator discloses his or her violations of law and human rights. The TRC’s exchange of amnesty for truth garnered passionate supporters and vigorous detractors. Though Markel critically scrutinizes the TRC’s amnesty, he finally defends that practice but for reasons other than those generally offered in support. In this regard, he questions the TRC’s embrace of restorative justice as a theory of criminal justice; and he outlines a confrontational conception of retributive justice that, he claims, allows for amnesty proceedings. Thus he attempts to establish a compatibility between retributive justice and the granting of particularized amnesty.