An Evaluation of the South African Amnesty Process
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION: DID THE TRC DELIVER, Audrey Chapman and Hugo van der Merwe, eds., University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008
57 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2009
Date Written: March 23, 2009
This book chapter looks at the South African amnesty process (as opposed to the role of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission broadly). It examines some of the issues that characterized the work of the amnesty committee, from both a process and substantive point of view. It is based on an analysis of the amnesty committee's decisions supplemented by decisions of the various courts that have reviewed the work of the TRC, and the amnesty committee, so as to understand the way the process worked, the interpretation given to the laws, and the manner in which various other factors affected the work of the amnesty committee. It examines the reasons why 7116 individuals applied for amnesty, and why only 1167 of those were granted. Issues also examined include the impact of the investigations unit on the amnesty process, the speed and focus of amnesty hearings, the quality and absence of legal representation, the role of precedence, and the role of victims at the hearing and their role depending on whether they supported or opposed amnesty. The chapter also examines how the committee applied the amnesty law, including its application of the laws regarding full disclosure, political objective, and how the proportionality principle was applied by the amnesty committee.
Keywords: international law, South Africa, international human rights law, transitional justice, reconciliation, amnesty, justice, truth, reparations, history, truth and reconciliation commission, proportionality, representation, hearings, victims, investigations, trials
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