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Amnesty and International Law

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image of Nordic Journal of International Law

Amnesties are proving as popular in the twenty-first century as they did in the twentieth. Wherever there is an attempt to end a conflict, there is often an amnesty. The author briefly surveys the characteristics of amnesties, and offers a simple taxonomy. The author next assesses the approach taken in international law to amnesties. The survey draws on the experience of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Subsequently the author looks ahead to the Proposed Extraordinary Chamber for Cambodia and the International Criminal Court. From this survey, two particular topics for international law are addressed: the right to a fair trial, and alternatives to courts (such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions). Assuming that international law is going to be selective in its treatment of amnesties, the author offers a tentative model for an amnesty which will meet the needs of current international law.


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