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Amnesty, truth, and reconciliation: Reflections on the South African amnesty process

Slye, Ronald C.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) In Truth v. justice: The morality of truth commissions, eds. Robert I. Rotberg and Dennis Thompson, 170-188. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

The granting of amnesty by a truth commission to individuals in response to their culpability in past human rights violations is a controversial practice. Using the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as an example, Slye looks at issues relating to this practice. He contends that few academics and policymakers have explored the relationship between a truth commission’s granting of amnesty and its stated goals of truth and reconciliation (as with the TRC). Therefore, Slye explores the TRC as a model for creating and judging future amnesties. Specifically, he considers the following issues: the comparative strengths and weaknesses of amnesties and judicial alternatives in the pursuit of truth or knowledge about human rights violations; the question whether that truth or knowledge increases or diminishes the possibilities of reconciliation in a society; the relationship between accountability and reconciliation; and the creation of a culture of human rights in a society.


AbstractAfricaCourtsPoliticsPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in SchoolsStatutes and Legislation
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