Amnesty in International Law
By Ben Chigara
Longman / Pearson Education
OUT OF PRINT
In this polemical book, the author presents a rigorous legal analysis of national
amnesty laws -- often called transitional or transformative justice -- that
seek to exculpate human rights violators from liability for criminal conduct
under both national and international law.
The issue is examined from several perspectives--that human rights are inalienable
property rights, vested only in the individual, which no state can nullify without
demonstrating transfer of title of that property from the individual to the
state itself; that generally accepted treaty norms and principles of customary
international law deny the legality of amnesties offered under national law;
of conflicting legal traditions, where the idea of national amnesty laws is
counter to the dominant positive human rights law tradition; that current state
practice of acquiescing with some national amnesty laws, and challenging others,
points to the development of a new norm of customary international law on the
A model is developed for distinguishing legally sustainable national amnesty
laws from unsustainable ones the VANPAJR test. The author concludes that any
scope of national amnesty laws to expunge criminal or civil liability of human
rights violators is ultimately unsustainable under international law.
Ben Chigara is a lecturer in International Law at the University of Warwick
and has previously lectured at the University of Leeds and Oxford Brookes University.
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