Ulster University Logo

Ulster Institutional Repository

Amnesties in Transition: Punishment, Restoration, and the Governance of Mercy

Biomedical Sciences Research Institute Computer Science Research Institute Environmental Sciences Research Institute Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials Research Institute

McEvoy, Kieran and Mallinder, Louise (2012) Amnesties in Transition: Punishment, Restoration, and the Governance of Mercy. Journal of Law and Society, 39 (3). pp. 410-440. [Journal article]

[img]
Preview
PDF - Published Version
175Kb

Abstract

Despite the much vaunted triumph of human rights, amnesties continue to be a frequently used technique of post-conflict transitional justice. For many critics, they are synonymous with unaccountability and injustice. This article argues that despite the rhetoric, there is no universal duty to prosecute under international law and that issues of selectivity and proportionality present serious challenges to the retributive rationale for punishment in international justice. It contends that many of the assumptions concerning the deterrent effect in the field are also oversold and poorly theorized. It also suggests that appropriately designed restorative amnesties can be both lawful and effective as routes to truth recovery, reconciliation, and a range of other peacemaking goals. Rather than mere instruments of impunity, amnesties should instead be seen as important institutions in the governance of mercy, the reassertion of state sovereignty and, if properly constituted, the return of law to a previously lawless domain.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:amnesty; punishment; transitional justice; deterrence; retribution; restorative justice
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Research Institutes and Groups:Transitional Justice Institute
ID Code:22939
Deposited By:Dr Louise Mallinder
Deposited On:21 Aug 2012 09:39
Last Modified:21 Aug 2012 09:39

Repository Staff Only: item control page