Yesterday the Belfast Guidelines on Amnesty andAccountability were released.
They are the product of a series of expert meetings convened by Louise Mallinder and Tom Hadden at the University of Ulster. The document represents a consensus of the experts who participated.
The Guidelines reject the view that amnesty is prohibited by international law. They set out a series of principles that may be applied during peace negotiations in balancing a range of competing interests. In particular, they note that ‘prosecution and punishment are not the only forms of accountability; amnesties can be used to facilitate selective prosecution strategies, or made conditional on participation in truth commissions, public inquiries, restorative justice, and reparations.’
Versions of the Guidelines are available in the six official languages of the United Nations.