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Giving Amnesties a Second Chance

Trumbull IV, Charles P.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Berkeley Journal of International Law 25:283ff

“Nazi Germany committed acts so heinous that the international community had to develop a new expression to describe
them: crimes against humanity. … This Article develops a balanced proposal for determining whether to recognize
a domestic amnesty, such as the Justice and Peace Law in Colombia, for perpetrators of serious crimes under international
law. … Second, the ICC prosecutor may decide not to prosecute a certain crime if the prosecution is “not in the
interests of justice, taking into account all the circumstances, including the gravity of the crime, the interests of victims
and the age or infirmity of the alleged perpetrator, and his or her role in the alleged crime.” … The court found that the
Sierra Leone amnesty law did not violate international law, but also that it did not deprive the international community
of the right to prosecute those persons who had committed serious crimes under international law. … In the same way
that a district attorney prosecutes a rapist regardless of the victim’s wishes because his crime transgresses the norms of
the community, the international community has an interest in prosecuting crimes that offend the norms of all mankind
regardless of the specific victims’ wishes. … Before determining whether the international community should support
the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, this Article examines an amnesty recently enacted in Colombia.” (Excerpt from Author)


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