Accountability v. “Smart Amnesty” in the Transitional Post-conflict Quest for Peace. A South African Case Study

  • Anastasia Kushleyko
Part of the Springer Series in Transitional Justice book series (SSTJ, volume 4)


The concept of amnesties introduced by States today in the period of transition from conflict to democracy is much more complex, flexible and nuanced, often accompanied by transitional justice mechanisms, which can work to meet the needs of justice where formal prosecution is not possible. Conditional or “smart” amnesties meet the calls for truth, peace and justice and do not contradict the general obligation of the States under treaty or customary law to prosecute gross violations of international crimes. The example of South African amnesty model represents a remarkable innovation in contrast to previous amnesties around the world. While being an exception to a norm requiring accountability for international crimes, “smart” amnesties, reviewed on example of South African model, tailored to the post-conflict transitional society, may in fact better contribute to the establishment of peace and reconciliation in the country, serve the purposes of truth telling and better address the needs of the victims in post-conflict period.


Amnesty Conditional amnesty South African amnesty model Reconciliation Truth Transitional justice mechanisms 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)MoscowRussia

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