Amnesties and Truth Commissions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the, so far neglected, role of truth commissions in amnesty processes. It first examines what amnesties and truth commissions are and explores how past amnesties affect the work of truth commissions in various countries. Subsequently, it discusses the amnesty process in South Africa, as the South African truth commission has been the only one with the power to directly grant amnesty. The chapter then explores truth commissions in a number of other countries to understand how the fact that these bodies only had the power to recommend amnesty affected their role in their quest to deal with the past. Generally, truth commissions have not dealt separately with atrocity crimes versus less serious ones. The debates about whether states have duties to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes are outlined, and existing (empirical) research on truth commissions and amnesties is summarized. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook on Atrocity Crimes
EditorsBarbora Holá, Hollie Nyseth Nzitatira, Maartje Weerdesteijn
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190915629
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2022


  • Amnesty
  • Truth commissions
  • Impunity
  • Atrocity crimes
  • Truth
  • Justice


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