Practice Relating to Rule 159. Amnesty

Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs
Article 3(c) of the 1994 Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs provides:
Displaced persons/refugees shall have the right to return peacefully without risk of arrest, detention, imprisonment or legal criminal proceedings.
Such immunity shall not apply to persons where there are serious evidences that they have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity as defined in international instruments and international practice as well as serious non-political crimes committed in the context of the conflict. Such immunity shall also not apply to persons who have previously taken part in the hostilities and are currently serving in armed formations, preparing to fight in Abkhazia.
Persons falling into these categories should be informed through appropriate channels of the possible consequences they may face upon return. 
Quadripartite Agreement on Voluntary Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Republic of Georgia, between the Abkhaz and Georgian Sides, the Russian Federation and UNHCR, Moscow, 4 April 1994, annexed to Letter dated 5 April 1994 from the permanent representative of Georgia to the UN addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN Doc. S/1994/397, 5 April 1994, Annex II, Article 3(c).
Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords
Article VI of the 1995 Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords provides:
Any returning refugee or displaced person charged with a crime, other than a serious violation of international humanitarian law as defined in the Statute of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia since January 1, 1991 or a common crime unrelated to the conflict, shall upon return enjoy an amnesty. In no case shall charges for crimes be imposed for political or other inappropriate reasons or to circumvent the application of the amnesty. 
General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Annex 7, Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons, signed by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, Dayton, 22 November 1995, Article VI.
Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
Article 10 of the 2002 Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone provides:
An amnesty granted to any person falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Court in respect of the crimes referred to in articles 2 to 4 of the present Statute [crimes against humanity, violations of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, and other serious violations of IHL] shall not be a bar to prosecution. 
Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, annexed to the 2002 Agreement on the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Freetown, 16 January 2002, annexed to Letter dated 6 March 2002 from the UN Secretary-General to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/2002/246, 8 March 2002, p. 29, Article 10.
UN-Cambodia Agreement Concerning the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea
Article 11 of the 2003 UN-Cambodia Agreement Concerning the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea provides:
1. The Royal Government of Cambodia shall not request an amnesty or pardon for any persons who may be investigated for or convicted of crimes referred to in the present Agreement.
2. This provision is based upon a declaration by the Royal Government of Cambodia that until now, with regard to matters covered in the law, there has been only one case, dated 14 September 1996, when a pardon was granted to only one person with regard to a 1979 conviction on the charge of genocide. The United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia agree that the scope of this pardon is a matter to be decided by the Extraordinary Chambers. 
Agreement between the UN and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, Phnom Penh, 6 June 2003, Article 11.
In accordance with Article 2 of the Agreement, Cambodia’s Law on the Establishment of the ECCC (2001), as amended, further implements these provisions. 
Agreement between the UN and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, Phnom Penh, 6 June 2003, Article 2.
UN-Lebanon Agreement on the Establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Article 16 of the 2007 UN-Lebanon Agreement on the Establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon provides:
The Government undertakes not to grant amnesty to any person for any crime falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal. An amnesty already granted in respect of any such persons and crimes shall not be a bar to prosecution. 
Agreement between the UN and the Lebanese Republic on the Establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon, annexed to UN Security Council Resolution 1757 of 30 May 2007, Article 16.
Article 6 of the Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, attached to the Agreement, further provides: “An amnesty granted to any person for any crime falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal shall not be a bar to prosecution.” 
Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, attached to the Agreement between the UN and the Lebanese Republic on the Establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon annexed to UN Security Council Resolution 1757 of 30 May 2007, Article 6.
Agreement between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Release and Transfer of Prisoners
Article 3(1) of the 1992 Agreement between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Release and Transfer of Prisoners provides:
All prisoners not accused of, or sentenced for, grave breaches of International Humanitarian Law as defined in Art. 50 of the First, Art. 51 of the Second, Art. 130 of the Third and Art. 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as in Art. 85 of Additional Protocol I, will be unilaterally and unconditionally released. 
Agreement on the Release and Transfer of Prisoners, concluded between Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representative of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Mate Boban (President of the Croatian Democratic Community), Geneva, 1 October 1992, Article 3(1).
Global and Inclusive Agreement on Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The 2002 Global and Inclusive Agreement on Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provides:
We, the elements and entities of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, Parties to this Agreement: the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), the political opposition, civil society, the Congolese Rally for Democracy/Liberation Movement (RCD/ML), the Congolese Rally for Democracy/National (RCD/N), the Mai-Mai;
Conclude the present Global and Inclusive Agreement on Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by agreeing as follows:
III. Principles of the transition
8. To achieve national reconciliation, amnesty shall be granted for acts of war, political offences and opinion offences, with the exception of war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. To this effect, the transitional national assembly shall adopt an amnesty law in accordance with universal principles and international law.  
Accord global et inclusif sur la transition en République Démocratique du Congo, conclu entre les composantes et entités du dialogue intercongolais, parties à l’accord: le Gouvernement de la République Démocratique du Congo, le Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD), le Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC), l’Opposition politique, les Forces vives, le Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie/Mouvement de Libération (RCD/ML), le Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie/National (RCD/N), les Mai-Mai, Pretoria, 16 December 2002, Article III(8).
Linas-Marcoussis Agreement between the political forces of Côte d’Ivoire
The 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement between the political forces of Côte d’Ivoire provides:
1) At the invitation of the President of the French Republic, a Round Table of the Ivorian political forces met in Linas-Marcoussis from 15 to 23 January 2003. It brought together the following parties FPI, MFA, MJP, MPCI, MPIGO, PDCI-RDA, PIT, RDR, UDCY, UDPCI … The delegations have shown high-mindedness to allow the Round Table to bring the positions closer together and to arrive at the following consensus, all elements of which – principles and annexes – have equal value:
Annex
VII – Reintegration, Disarmament, Demobilization
5. The government of national reconciliation shall take the necessary measures for the release and amnesty of all military detained for attack on the security of the State and shall have soldiers in exile benefit from the same measure. The amnesty law shall in no case exonerate the authors of grave economic offences and of grave violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. 
Linas-Marcoussis Agreement between the political forces of Côte d’Ivoire, Round table of the Ivorian political forces, meeting at Linas-Marcoussis from 15 to 23 January 2003 and bringing together the following parties: FPI (Front Populaire Ivoirien), MFA (Mouvement des Forces d’Avenir), MJP (Mouvement pour la Justice et la Paix), MPCI (Mouvement Patriotique de Côte d’Ivoire), MPIGO (Mouvement Populaire Ivoirien du Grand Ouest), PDCI-RDA (Parti Démocratique de la Côte d’Ivoire-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain), PIT (Parti Ivoirien des Travailleurs), RDR (Rassemblement des Républicains), UDCY (Union Démocratique et Citoyenne), UDPCI (Union pour la Démocratie et la Paix en Côte d’Ivoire), Linas-Marcoussis, 24 January 2003, Text of the agreement, paragraph 1 and Annex, paragraph VII(5).
Ouagadougou Political Agreement between the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire and the Forces Nouvelles of Côte d’Ivoire
The 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement between the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire and the Forces Nouvelles of Côte d’Ivoire provides:
Preamble
At the invitation of His Excellency Mister Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, in his capacity as incumbent Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), acting upon the latter’s express mandate, two delegations of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, one representing the President of the Republic and the other the Forces Nouvelles, met in Ouagadougou from 5 February to 3 March 2007 …
VI. Measures aimed at consolidating national reconciliation, peace, security and free movement of persons and goods
6.3. On the amnesty law
In order to facilitate pardon and national reconciliation and to restore social cohesion and solidarity among the Ivorians, the two Parties of the Direct Dialogue agree to extend the scope of the amnesty law adopted in 2003. To this effect, they have decided to adopt, by way of an ordinance, a new amnesty law covering the crimes and offences relating to attacks on the security of the State linked to the disturbances which have shaken Côte d’Ivoire and were committed between 17 September 2000 and the date of entry into force of the present Agreement, with the exception of economic crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity. 
Ouagadougou Political Agreement between the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire and the Forces Nouvelles of Côte d’Ivoire, having met at Ouagadougou from 5 February to 3 March 2007, Ouagadougou, 4 March 2007, preamble and paragraph VI(6.3).
N’Djamena Declaration on Ending Recruitment and Use of Children by Armed Forces and Groups
In June 2010, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Sudan adopted the N’Djamena Declaration reiterated their “concern regarding the precarious situation of children affected by conflict and the consistent presence of children within armed forces and groups in [their] region” and pledged “[t]o ensure the crime of recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups does not form part of any amnesty law and is treated as a war crime.” 
N’Djamena Declaration adopted at the Regional Conference on Ending Recruitment and Use of Children by Armed Forces and Groups: Contributing to Peace, Justice and Development, signed by Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Sudan, N’Djamena, 7–9 June 2010, Preamble and § 4.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Amnesty
An amnesty granted to a war-crimes suspect by his own government does not prevent his prosecution by other States. The question naturally then arises whether prosecution is wise. If agreement has just been reached on a ceasefire, such prosecution will result in political conflict in the State and not contribute to stability. But, after a while, the reverse may seem just. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1166.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides with respect to non-international armed conflicts:
In order to facilitate a return to peaceful conditions, the authorities in power at the end of the hostilities are to endeavour to grant the broadest possible amnesty to those who have participated in the conflict or been deprived of their liberty for reasons related to it, whether they were interned or detained …
This terminology is used to apply to whichever Party is in power at the end of the conflict, whether it be the former government or its opponents …
This would seem to include persons tried for treason, but not those sentenced for common crimes, including assassination. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1816, including footnotes 55 and 56.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states:
The International Criminal Court has material jurisdiction over four groups of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. … [T]hese acts are international crimes against human rights … [which] cannot be made the subject of an amnesty or a pardon. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 74, pp. 111–112.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) states:
Having regard to the duty of belligerents to try those who have committed grave breaches of the 1949 [Geneva] Conventions, it may now be open to doubt whether a treaty of peace would operate, as was often the case in the past, as an amnesty. It is, on the other hand, open to two or more belligerents to agree in a peace treaty, or even in a general armistice, that no further war crimes trials will be instituted by them after a certain agreed date or as from the date of the treaty of the armistice. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 641, footnote 1.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
Convicted offenders, whether prisoners of war or civilians, serving sentences for war crimes have no right to release at the cessation of hostilities. This is a matter that should be dealt with in peace treaties. These should also deal with the disposal of cases involving persons accused of war crimes who were not charged or dealt with before cessation of hostilities. Any amnesty must be considered of doubtful effect as, although it would be binding as between parties to the treaty, it would not bind other states or the International Criminal Court, particularly in respect of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions or of Additional Protocol I. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.50.
With regard to internal armed conflicts in which the 1977 Additional Protocol II is applicable, the manual states:
At the end of hostilities, the authorities in power, whoever they might be, “shall endeavour to grant the broadest possible amnesty to persons who have participated in the armed conflict, or those deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict, whether they are interned or detained”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 15.42.
The manual explains: “The wording [of Article 6(5) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] is vague. It is understood to relate to offences under domestic law but not to those guilty of crimes under international law.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 15.42, footnote 97.
Algeria
Algeria’s Law on National Reconciliation (1999), proposed by the government for persons involved in terrorist activities who say they wish to stop, provides, inter alia, for immunity from prosecution for anyone:
who has not committed or participated in the commission of one of the offences set forth in Article 87 bis of the Penal Code [i.e. acts qualifying as “terrorist or subversive”], leading to death or permanent disability, rape, or who has not used explosives in public places or places frequented by the public and who, within six months of the date of promulgation of this law, has advised the competent authorities that he will stop any terrorist or subversive activity and has given himself up to the competent authorities. 
Algeria, Law on National Reconciliation, 1999, Article 3.
Argentina
The Constitution of the City of Buenos Aires (1996) (Argentina) provides that the functions of the head of government of the autonomous City of Buenos Aires shall include the authority to “pardon or commute penalties individually and in exceptional cases following a plea by a competent court. However, at no time may he pardon or commute, inter alia, penalties for crimes against humanity, or crimes committed by public officials during the course of their duties.” 
Argentina, Constitution of the City of Buenos Aires, 1996, Article 104(18).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Law on Amnesty (1999) provides:
Exemption from criminal prosecution or full exemption from pronounced sentence or part of the sentence that has not been served (hereinafter: the amnesty) are granted to all persons who committed, in the period between 1 January 1991 and 22 December 1995, any criminal act stipulated in appropriate criminal laws that were applied in the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Federation), except for criminal acts against humanity and international law as stipulated in Section XVI of the [Criminal Code] of the SFRY [Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] that has been taken over, and following criminal acts: murder … rape … criminal acts against a person’s dignity and moral … as well as serious cases of robbery … if this Law or other related provisions applied in the territory of the Federation foresees penal sanctions against the persons who commit these criminal acts. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federation, Law on Amnesty, 1999, Article 1.
Burundi
Burundi’s Penal Code (2009) states:
Article 161
Pardon means a total or partial reduction [granted by] the executive power of the penalties pronounced, or their commutation into other penalties [which are] less severe, pursuant to the law.
Article 170
A pardon does not extinguish the penalties pronounced against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Article 171
Amnesty is the act by which the legislative power prohibits the exercise or the continuation of criminal prosecutions and erases convictions [which have already been] pronounced.
Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes shall not be object of an amnesty law. 
Burundi, Penal Code, 2009, Articles 161 and 170–171.
Cambodia
Cambodia’s Law on the Establishment of the ECCC (2001), as amended in 2004, provides:
The Royal Government of Cambodia shall not request an amnesty or pardon for any persons who may be investigated for or convicted of crimes referred to in Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of this law. The scope of any amnesty or pardon that may have been granted prior to the enactment of this Law is a matter to be decided by the Extraordinary Chambers. 
Cambodia, Law on the Establishment of the ECCC, 2001, as amended in 2004, Article 40 new.
Article 3 new-8 of the Law, provided that the acts were committed during the period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979, deal with: homicide, torture and religious persecution as set forth in Cambodia’s 1956 Penal Code (Article 3 new); genocide (Article 4); crimes against humanity (Article 5); grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (Article 6); destruction of cultural property during armed conflict pursuant to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property (Article 7); and crimes against internationally protected persons pursuant to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (Article 8). 
Cambodia, Law on the Establishment of the ECCC, 2001, as amended in 2004, Articles 3 new-8.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Amnesty Law (2008) states:
Excluded from [the amnesty established by] this Amnesty Law are the crimes stipulated in the Rome Statute [1998 ICC Statute], notably: … war crimes or any other crime within the competence of the International Criminal Court. 
Central African Republic, Amnesty Law, 2008, Article 2.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Penal Code (2010) states: “The aforementioned crimes [genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes] may not be the object of an amnesty or of a pardon.” 
Central African Republic, Penal Code, 2010, Article 162.
Colombia
Colombia’s Amnesty Decree (1991) states:
The National Government can grant, in every particular case, the benefits of a pardon or an amnesty [to Colombian nationals] for offences or acts which constitute crimes of rebellion, sedition, putsch, conspiracy and related acts, committed before the promulgation of the [Constitution], when, in its opinion, the guerrilla group of which the person asking for [the pardon or amnesty] is a member has demonstrated its intention to reintegrate into civil life.
The benefits provided for in this decree can neither be granted with respect to atrocities nor with respect to murder committed outside a situation of combat or in taking advantage of the defenselessness of the victim. 
Colombia, Amnesty Decree, 1991, Article 1.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Amnesty Law (2003) provides:
Article 4
The present amnesty law does not apply to:
b) offences constituting grave violations of human rights law and of international humanitarian law.
c) more specifically, the offences qualified by the Ivorian penal code as crimes and offences against international law, crimes and offences against persons, crimes and offences against objects …
d) the offences addressed by articles 5 to 8 of the Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Amnesty Law, 2003, Article 4.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Amnesty Ordinance (2007) provides:
First Article:
Amnestied by law are – whoever the perpetrators, co-perpetrators or accomplices, military or civilian, and whatever their nature and the penalties they have entailed or are likely to entail – the offences against the security of the State and national defence as well as connected offences committed by Ivorian nationals located on the national territory or in exile, between 17 September 2000 and the date of signature of the present ordinance.
Article 2
Equally amnestied are the acts and their collateral effects related to the operations of defence of the republican institutions carried out by the defence and security forces at the dates and in the periods of the acts amnestied by the present ordinance.
Article 3:
The present amnesty does not apply to:
b) the offences qualified by the Ivorian penal code as crimes and offences against international law, crimes and offences against persons, crimes and offences against objects other than those listed in articles 1 and 2.
Article 12:
The present ordinance which repeals any contrary previous provision shall be published according to urgency procedures as well as in the Journal Officiel de la République de Côte d’Ivoire, and be executed as law of the State. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Amnesty Ordinance, 2007, Articles 1–3 and 12.
Croatia
Croatia’s General Amnesty Law (1996) “grants general amnesty from criminal prosecution and proceedings for perpetrators of criminal offences committed during the aggression, armed rebellion or armed conflicts and in connection [therewith] in the Republic of Croatia”. The Law provides, however, that “from the amnesty for criminal offences stated in … this law are exempted” perpetrators of crimes (under Articles 120–122 of the Criminal Code), genocide (under Article 119 of the Criminal Code) and any other act which under the Criminal Code constitutes a violation of the laws and customs of war. 
Croatia, General Amnesty Law, 1996, Articles 1 and 3.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Constitution of the Transition (2003) provides:
The Plenum of the Intercongolese Dialogue has adopted,
The President of the Republic promulgates the Constitution of the Transition with the following content:
Article 199
At its first session, the National Assembly of the transition shall adopt, in accordance with universal principles and international law, a law on amnesty for acts of war, political offences and offences of opinion, with the exception of war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity.
On a provisional basis and while awaiting the adoption and promulgation of the amnesty law, the amnesty shall be promulgated by a presidential decree-law. 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Constitution of the Transition, 2003, Article 199.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Amnesty Decree-Law (2003) provides:
The President of the Republic,
Considering the Constitution of the Transition, especially articles 65, 118 and 199;
Considering the Global and Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed on 17 November 2002 and adopted by the Plenum of the Intercongolese Dialogue on 1 April 2003, especially point III, principles of the Transition, point 8;
Considering the urgency and necessity to realize national reconciliation, one of the major objectives of the Transition;
Decrees:
First Article:
Awaiting the adoption of the amnesty law by the National Assembly and its promulgation, amnestied are, on a provisional basis, the acts of war, political offences and offences of opinion committed during the period of 2 August 1998 to 4 April 2003, with the exception of war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Amnesty Decree-Law, 2003, Article 1.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Amnesty Law (2009) states:
Explanatory Memorandum
Following the insecurity created by the armed and insurgent groups operating in the North and South Kivu provinces, the President of the Republic established and convened, by Ordinance No. 07/075 of 20 December 2007, the Conference on Peace, Security and Development for the provinces of North and South Kivu.
At the end of the conference, it was recommended specifically that an amnesty [be granted] for acts of war and insurrection, with the aim of putting an end to the war and insecurity, and to seal the reconciliation between the daughters and sons of both these provinces.
It is in the implementation of such recommendation that the government introduces the present law.
Article 3.
The present amnesty law does not apply to the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Amnesty Law, 2009, Explanatory Memorandum and Article 3.
[emphasis in original]
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ordinance on a Collective Pardon (2010) states:
Article 7
The commutation, reduction and remission of sentences as provided for in articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 above are not granted to:
- Persons convicted for:
Attempt of and/or war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide. 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ordinance on a Collective Pardon, 2010, Article 7.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s Constitution (1994) provides:
The legislature or any other organ of state shall have no power to pardon or give amnesty with regard to [acts qualified as “crimes against humanity” such as] inhuman punishment, forcible disappearances, summary executions, acts of genocide. Crimes against humanity shall not be subject to amnesty or pardon by any act of government. 
Ethiopia, Constitution, 1994, Article 28(1).
Guatemala
Guatemala’s National Reconciliation Law (1996) foresees the “total release from penal responsibility for political crimes committed during the armed internal confrontation” and “the total release from penal responsibility for common crimes … connected to” such political crimes. 
Guatemala, National Reconciliation Law, 1996, Articles 2 and 4.
However, it states:
The release from penal responsibility … does neither apply to crimes of genocide, torture and forced disappearance nor to the crimes which are not subject to limitations or which, in conformity with internal law or international treaties ratified by Guatemala, do not allow the release from penal responsibility. 
Guatemala, National Reconciliation Law, 1996, Article 8.
Iraq
Iraq’s Law of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (2005) states: “Amnesty decrees issued prior to this Law coming into force do not apply to persons accused of committing any of the crimes stipulated in it.” 
Iraq, Law of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, 2005, Article 15(6).
Liberia
Liberia’s Act to Establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2005) states:
Preamble
Considering that the civil conflict was generally characterized by … violation of international humanitarian laws and standards.
Article VII. Functions and Powers.
Section 26. The TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] shall enjoy and exercise such functions and powers as are relevant for the realization of its mandates. Its functions and powers shall include, but not be limited to:
(g) Recommending amnesty under terms and conditions established by the TRC upon application of individual persons making full disclosures of their wrongs and thereby expressing remorse for their acts and/or omissions, whether as an accomplice or a perpetrator, provided that amnesty or exoneration shall not apply to violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity in conformity with international laws and standards. 
Liberia, Act to Establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2005, Preamble and Article VII, Section 26.
Peru
Peru’s Presidential Decree on the National Human Rights Plan (2005) lists as an objective “the modification of domestic law in order to establish the mechanisms necessary to avoid impunity for the commission of international crimes, such as … the nullity of amnesties and pardons”. 
Peru, Presidential Decree on the National Human Rights Plan, 2005, § 3.1.3 A1.
Peru
Peru’s Code of Military and Police Justice (2006) states: “Criminal action and the penalties for offences defined in this Title [as violations of international humanitarian law] shall not be subject to statutes of limitations. Amnesties, pardons and acts of grace shall not be applicable.” 
Peru, Code of Military and Police Justice, 2006, Article 86.
Philippines
The Philippines’ Proclamation No. 348 (1994) states:
Amnesty is hereby granted to all personnel of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and the PNP [Philippine National Police] who shall apply therefor and who have or may have committed, as of the date of this Proclamation, acts or omissions punishable under the Revised Penal Code, the Articles of War or other special laws, in furtherance of, incident to, or in connection with counter-insurgency operations; Provided, that such acts or omissions do not constitute acts of torture, arson, massacre, rape, other crimes against chastity, or robbery of any form; and Provided, that the acts were not committed for personal ends. 
Philippines, Proclamation No. 348, 1994, Section 1.
[emphasis in original]
Philippines
The Philippines’ Proclamation No. 390 (2000) states:
Whereas, the judicious grant of amnesty, as an instrument of reconciliation, to members and supporters of the MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] will facilitate their return to a peaceful, democratic and pluralistic society so essential to the attainment of peace and prosperity;
Now, Therefore, I, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by Section 19, Article VI of the Constitution, do hereby declare and proclaim:
Section 1. Grant of Amnesty. – Amnesty is hereby granted to members and supporters of the MILF who have committed crimes on or before issuance of this Proclamation in pursuit of their political beliefs; Provided, that the amnesty granted under this Proclamation shall not cover kidnapping for ransom, massacre or torture of civilian non-combatants, rape, crimes against chastity and other crimes for personal ends; Provided further, that those who have already been granted amnesty under Proclamation Nos. 347, 724 and 21 can no longer qualify for amnesty under this Proclamation. 
Philippines, Proclamation No. 390, 2000, preamble and Section 1.
Philippines
The Philippines’ Proclamation No. 1377 (2007) states:
Now, therefore, I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the land do hereby declare and proclaim:
Section 1. Grant of Amnesty. Amnesty shall be granted to members of the CPP-NPA-NDF [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front] and other communist rebel groups who shall apply under this Proclamation.
Section 2. Coverage. Amnesty shall cover the crime of rebellion and all other crimes included therein or incident thereto to pursuit of political beliefs as defined by jurisprudence, whether punishable under the Revised Penal Code or special laws.
Provided, that the amnesty granted under this Proclamation shall not cover the crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols, even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs. 
Philippines, Proclamation No. 1377, 2007, preamble and Sections 1–2.
Russian Federation
In 1997, the Russian State Duma adopted the Law on Amnesty for Acts Committed in the Context of the Conflict in Chechnya. However, referring to a number of articles of the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code, the law expressly excludes from the amnesty persons who committed specific acts such as spying, terrorism, banditry, intentional homicide, rape, kidnapping, robbery, etc., as well as foreigners. 
Russian Federation, Law on Amnesty for Acts Committed in the Context of the Conflict in Chechnya, 1997, Article 4.
Tajikistan
In 1998, the Tajik Parliament, in honour of the 7th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence and the anniversary of the signing of the 1997 General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, adopted the General Amnesty Law which provides for the release from prison of convicted persons, such as, inter alia, “participants and veterans of the Great Patriotic War and persons equated with them, participants and veterans of armed conflicts on the territory of other States”. The Law also provides for the stopping of criminal investigations against such persons. However, referring to a number of provisions of Tajikistan’s Criminal Code, it excludes from the granting of amnesty persons who have committed crimes such as pillage and violations against the civilian population in the area of armed clashes. Nor does it extend to acts such as murder, kidnapping, rape, terrorism, robbery and other similar crimes. 
Tajikistan, General Amnesty Law, 1998, Articles 1, 6 and 8(b) and (c).
Uruguay
Under its Amnesty Law of 1985, Uruguay granted amnesty with respect to all political offences and criminal and military offences related thereto committed after 1 January 1962. “Political offences” are defined as those committed directly or indirectly for political motives. The amnesty extends to all persons accused of committing these offences as authors, co-authors or accomplices and accessories, whether or not they have been convicted or tried. Offences committed by police or military personnel, equiparados, and others who have subjected individuals to inhuman, cruel or degrading treatment or detained individuals who subsequently disappeared are excluded, as are offences committed by persons of these categories who acted as accomplices for or covered up those offences. Penalties and sanctions imposed for the amnestied offences were also declared null and void ab initio. 
Uruguay, Amnesty Law, 1985, Articles 1–7.
Uruguay
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
The crimes and punishments set out in Titles I to III of Part II of the present law [genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes] may not be abolished by a pardon, amnesty, grace, or any other act of sovereign or similar mercy which would impede the prosecution of suspects or the effective execution of a punishment. 
Uruguay, Law on Cooperation with the ICC, 2006, Article 8.
Venezuela
Venezuela’s General Amnesty Law (2000) states:
Article 1. A general, and full, political amnesty is granted to all those persons who, confronted to the general established order, have been prosecuted, sentenced or are being pursued for committing, with political motivations, political or related offences up until 31 December 1992.
Article 4. In accordance with the previous … and the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic [of Venezuela], those persons having committed crimes against humanity, serious violations of human rights and war crimes will not benefit from the present Law. 
Venezuela, General Amnesty Law, 2000, Articles 1(a),(e) and (m) and 4.
Venezuela
Venezuela’s Special Amnesty Law (2007) states:
Article 1. Amnesty will be granted to all those persons, confronted to the general established order, who … have been subjected to criminal proceedings, [and] have been prosecuted or sentenced for the commission of offences during the following acts:
a. For [the acts that took place in April and December 2002] …
e. For the commission of the offences of instigation to commit crimes and military rebellion up until 2 December 2007,
m. For the acts constituting … acts of civil rebellion up until 2 December 2002.
Article 4. In accordance with Article 29 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, those persons having committed crimes against humanity, serious violations of human rights and war crimes shall not benefit from the present law. 
Venezuela, Special Amnesty Law, 2007, Articles 1 and 4.
Venezuela
Venezuela’s Constitution (2009) states: “[W]ar crimes … are excluded from any benefit that might render the offenders immune from punishment, including pardons and amnesties.” 
Venezuela, Constitution, 2009, Article 29.
Argentina
In the Cavallo case in 2001, Argentina’s Federal Judge nullified two 1987 laws that had amnestied hundreds of military officers for human rights violations during the country’s 1976–1983 dictatorship. The judge stated that these laws did not respect States’ obligations under international law to investigate and punish human rights violations and crimes against humanity. 
Argentina, Federal Judge, Cavallo case, Decision, 6 March 2001.
Chile
In the Saavedra case in 1993 concerning the application of Chile’s 1978 Decree-Law on Amnesty to serious violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Supreme Court of Chile ruled that:
The appellant claims in the writ of appeal that the ruling appealed from is contrary to the Conventions of Geneva of 1949, because the decree-law of amnesty by definition does not apply to persons accused of serious infractions of the aforementioned Conventions. In this connection, it should be stated that Articles 2 and 3 common to the four Conventions establish the scope of their application to international conflicts and armed conflicts not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties. Concerning armed conflicts not of an international character, it is the opinion of this Court that disturbances or other situations of internal order, usually accompanied by terrorist or unlawful actions such as the one in question, do not constitute conflicts governed by what is known as the Law of Geneva, and the appellant’s argument in this case is invalid. The facts of this case are not congruent with the characteristics of the situations of internal war referred to by Article 3 common to the said Conventions. 
Chile, Supreme Court, Saavedra case, Judgment, 19 November 1993; see also Supreme Court, Bascuñán case, Judgment, 24 August 1990, where it is stated: “It can be concluded that the Geneva Conventions are not applicable to the unlawful acts investigated in the case giving rise to the appeal; and so although these acts did take place during the state of siege covered by the amnesty, they have not been shown to be the consequence or result of a state of internal conflict of the nature described [in the 1949 Geneva Conventions]. Consequently, the provisions of the aforementioned Conventions are unaffected by the legal precept that granted the amnesty of 1978.”
Chile
In the Videla case in 1994 concerning the abduction, torture and murder of a Chilean woman in 1974, Chile’s Appeal Court of Santiago held that the acts charged constituted grave breaches under Article 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, which it found applicable, and that:
Such offences as constitute grave breaches of the Convention are … unamenable to amnesty; … [it is not] appropriate to apply amnesty as a way of extinguishing criminal liability. Any attempt by a State to tamper with the criminality of and consequent liability for acts which infringe the laws of war and the rights of persons in wartime is beyond the State’s competence while it is a Party to the Geneva Conventions on humanitarian law. 
Chile, Appeal Court of Santiago (Third Criminal Chamber), Videla case, Judgment, 26 September 1994.
Chile
In its judgment in the María Barros Perelman case in 2005, Chile’s Court of Appeal of Santiago stated:
… thus, a … norm of general international law prevails and determines that the prohibition of criminal action under domestic law with respect to crimes against humanity is null and void because the non-applicability of statutory limitations to crimes against humanity is an imperative norm of general international law, which has … been incorporated into constitutional law by way of international treaties [such as the 1949 Geneva Conventions] and [prior to this incorporation] was binding as a general principle of international human rights law.
Moreover, the previously described norm of international law has tacitly derogated the provision on amnesties in the [1977] Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions. [The Additional Protocol II] was not in force at the time when the alleged acts were committed and therefore does not apply to the present case. 
Chile, Court of Appeal of Santiago, Fifth Chamber, María Barros Perelman case, Case No. 24.471-2005, Judgment, 5 September 2009, § 19.
Chile
In its judgment in the Episode of San Javier case in 2006, Chile’s Court of Appeals of Santiago stated:
Chile assumed the responsibility of safeguarding the safety of persons who may have been participants in armed conflicts on its territory, in particular if they were detained. Measures aimed at providing protection from offences committed against particular persons or at achieving impunity for oneself or another State remain prohibited. [By ratifying the 1949 Geneva Conventions,] Chile waived the right to exonerate itself or any other State from its responsibility for [violations of the Geneva Conventions]. 
Chile, Court of Appeal of Santiago, Eighth Chamber, Episode of San Javier case, Case No. 2.182-1998, Judgment, 27 July 2007, § 13; see also § 12.
The Court also stated:
By virtue of its sovereignty, a nation may amnesty criminal offences committed within its jurisdiction. However, the state may not [adopt such amnesties] if [it is bound by] an international treaty which limits its discretion in this respect. There is no doubt that the amnesty [decree examined in the present case] amounts to an act of self-exoneration of criminal responsibility, not only because it was imposed after the commission of the acts which the amnesty is supposed to cover, but also because the amnesty was established by those in power and with regard to events directly related to the exercise of this power, thus aiming at securing the impunity of those responsible who acted under the protection [of those in power]. In sum, [the amnesty] … is prohibited by article 148 of the [1949] Geneva Convention IV, and therefore does not apply to the present case. 
Chile, Court of Appeal of Santiago, Eighth Chamber, Episode of San Javier case, Case No. 2.182-1998, Judgment, 27 July 2007, § 19; see also § 21.
The Court further stated:
This prohibition of self-exoneration does not only concern explicit situations such as … amnesties, but also concerns the temporary proscription of pre-existing institutions, such as the prohibition of criminal action, … devised in order to apply in situations of institutional normality, during social peace, rather than in situations in which the legal order is characterized be infringements and exceptionality. 
Chile, Court of Appeal of Santiago, Eighth Chamber, Episode of San Javier case, Case No. 2.182-1998, Judgment, 27 July 2007, § 22.
Chile
In its decision on annulment in the Víctor Raúl Pinto case in 2007, Chile’s Supreme Court stated:
[T]aking into account that international agreements must be complied with in good faith, by signing and ratifying said [1949 Geneva] Conventions, Chile assumed the responsibility of safeguarding the safety of persons who may have been participants in armed conflicts on its territory, in particular if they were detained. Measures aimed at providing protection for offences committed against particular persons or at achieving impunity for oneself or another State remain prohibited. [By ratifying the Geneva Conventions,] Chile waived the right to exonerate itself or any other State from its responsibility for [violations of the Geneva Conventions]. 
Chile, Supreme Court, Criminal Law Chamber, Víctor Raúl Pinto case, Case No. 3125-04, Decision on Annulment, 13 March 2007, § 17.
The Supreme Court also stated:
[A]mnesties may not be used in cases of war crimes committed under the protection of … official agents or State officials … [if these war crimes were] subject to severe penalties under domestic law and international law when they were committed. Thus, national law is used as an instrument for [addressing] non-compliance and violations of international treaties in force and of general principles of the law of nations. … [W]ith the priority given to the rights contained in treaties over the amnesty law, the latter becomes inapplicable due to the greater force and resilience of the Geneva Conventions, the application of which is given preference. Moreover, the International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that this cannot be interpreted as supporting amnesties that “violate humanitarian law, but rather that at the end of the war they must facilitate the liberation of those who were detained or punished for merely participating in the conflict, not for those who have breached international humanitarian law” (Report 1/99, Lucio Parada Cea et al., El Salvador, 27 January 1999, paragraphs 114 and 115). 
Chile, Supreme Court, Criminal Law Chamber, Víctor Raúl Pinto case, Case No. 3125-04, Decision on Annulment, 13 March 2007, § 21.
The Supreme Court further stated:
Following the above line of reasoning and referring to international humanitarian law, the rules of international humanitarian law could never be applied if the competence to the State party to erase war crimes systematically committed by its own agents through amnesties were to be recognized. 
Chile, Supreme Court, Criminal Law Chamber, Víctor Raúl Pinto case, Case No. 3125-04, Decision on Annulment, 13 March 2007, § 22.
The Supreme Court also stated:
The so-called amnesty law can clearly be defined as an act of exonerating oneself from criminal responsibility for serious human rights violations since it was drafted after these acts took place and by those in power during and after the acts, thereby guaranteeing the impunity of those responsible for these acts. [The amnesty law therefore] violates Article 148 of [the 1949] Geneva Convention IV. 
Chile, Supreme Court, Criminal Law Chamber, Víctor Raúl Pinto case, Case No. 3125-04, Decision on Annulment, 13 March 2007, § 24.
The Supreme Court further stated:
[A]mong the characteristics that distinguish … [war crimes], the most notable include the non-applicability of statutes of limitation, the fact that it is impossible to grant amnesty for them or to establish exculpatory circumstances that impede the investigation and punishment of those responsible for grave breaches of fundamental rights such as torture, summary, extralegal or arbitrary execution and enforced disappearance, all of which are prohibited under international human rights law. 
Chile, Supreme Court, Criminal Law Chamber, Víctor Raúl Pinto case, Case No. 3125-04, Decision on Annulment, 13 March 2007, § 30.
Colombia
In 2006, in the Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
It is noteworthy that the [Inter-American Human Rights] Commission makes clear that international humanitarian law safeguards the protection derived from the right to due process and judicial protection during non-international armed conflicts and that these guarantees may not be derogated from because of the conflict. This is to say that the obligations to investigate and adjudicate may not be avoided because of the conflict. This does not prevent Congress from adopting amnesty or pardon laws under certain strict conditions, though Congress must stay within the parameters set up by the Constitution and international criminal law. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, Judgment of 18 May 2006, § 4.3.1 .6
The Court also held:
[T]he following principles are relevant for the … [present case]: … the prohibition of criminal action or punishment must not be imposed for serious crimes which constitute crimes against humanity under international law and must not take place during a period when there are no effective remedies. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, Judgment of 18 May 2006, § 4.7.3.4.
The Court also found:
Of well-known importance as jurisprudential precedents are … statements on the importance of peace as a constitutional value and on … amnesties and pardons as mechanisms to consolidate peace as well as the circumstances and crimes with regard to which these legal techniques are not accepted because they would lead to impunity and disregard for the right to truth, justice and reparation. Amongst these observations stand out those that refer to amnesties established with the aim of consolidating peace which are considered to be compatible with international humanitarian law as long as they do not constitute an obstacle to effective access to justice. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, Judgment of 18 May 2006, § 4.9.6.
The Court continued by quoting one such jurisprudential precedent, the judgment of the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court in Constitutional Case No. C-578/02 of 30 July 2002:
The Court notes that amnesties established with the aim of consolidating peace have been considered instruments compatible with respect for international humanitarian law. This is, for example, what Article 6(5) of the [1977 Additional] Protocol II to the 1949 Geneva Conventions says …
Notwithstanding the aforementioned, with the objective of rendering peace compatible with effective human rights [protection] and respect for international humanitarian law, international law provides that internal instruments used by States to achieve reconciliation must guarantee the possibility of access to justice for the victims and those affected by criminal conduct as well as their right to know the truth about what occurred and to obtain effective judicial protection. This is why the Rome Statute, which represents the international consensus on this matter, does not prohibit amnesties which comply with the minimum requirements while prohibiting those that are the product of decisions that do not offer effective access to justice.
The following legal techniques have been considered to violate States’ international obligations to provide judicial remedies for the protection of human rights guaranteed under the different international instruments: Laws which impede access to justice, blanket amnesties for any crime, self-amnesties (i.e. the criminal law benefits which those legitimately or illegitimately in power grant to themselves and to the accomplices in the crimes), or any other law which has the purpose of impeding victims’ effective recourse to justice in order to exercise their rights.
In addition, international law has recognized the non-derogability of ius cogens norms which is without doubt relevant for the present question. In this respect international law has punished the most serious crimes which are important for the entire international community. Without ignoring international law, Colombia has conceded amnesties and pardons specifically for political crimes.
Thus, the principles and norms of international law accepted by Colombia (Article 9 CP [Political Constitution]), the Rome Statute, and our constitutional order which only permits amnesties or pardons for political crimes and with the payment of indemnities (Article 150(7) CP) do not permit the adoption of self-amnesties, blanket amnesties, laws or other instruments that impede victims’ effective access to judicial remedies. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, Judgment of 18 May 2006, § 4.9.6, quoting Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-578/02, Judgment of 30 July 2002.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court further held:
4.9.11.7. Amnesties adopted for the purpose of consolidating peace have been considered as instruments compatible with international humanitarian law under certain conditions such as the cessation of hostilities and if they do not constitute obstacles to an effective access to justice.
4.9.11.8. Criminal prosecution must not be prohibited for crimes such as enforced disappearance. This has various reasons: the interest in eradicating impunity, the need for society and the affected people to know the truth and to hold the responsible individuals and institutions to account, and in general the interest in guaranteeing victims’ right to justice and reparation for the harm. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, Judgment of 18 May 2006, § 4.9.11.7–8.
Côte d’Ivoire
In 2003, in the Constitutionality of the ICC Statute case, Côte d’Ivoire’s Constitutional Council was called upon to decide on the constitutionality of the 1998 ICC Statute. The Court stated:
8. Considering that it is clear from article 17 paragraph 2 of the [1998 ICC] Statute that the [jurisdiction of the] International Criminal Court is complementary to national criminal jurisdiction [and considering] that the International Criminal Court can exercise its jurisdiction with respect to cases already pending before the [national] courts if it considers that the States concerned are unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out prosecutions;
9. Considering that the inability to prosecute may stem from a legal impossibility such as in the case of … amnesty;
15. Decides
16. [that t]he Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is not in conformity with the Constitution of 1 August 2000. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Constitutional Council, Constitutionality of the ICC Statute case, Decision, 17 December 2003, §§ 8–9 and 15–16.
Ethiopia
In the Mengistu and Others case in 1995 concerning the prosecution and trial of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam and former members of the Derg for allegedly committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during the former regime between 1974 and 1991, the Special Prosecutor of Ethiopia, in a reply submitted in response to the objection filed by counsel for defendants, stated: “It is … a well established custom and belief that war crimes and crimes against humanity are not subject to amnesty.” 
Ethiopia, Special Prosecutor’s Office, Mengistu and Others case, Reply submitted in response to the objection filed by counsels for defendants, 23 May 1995, Conclusion.
Referring to a statement made in 1991 by a high-ranking US peace negotiator at the London Conference as well as to a decision of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, the Special Prosecutor further stated: “The Transitional Government should consider an appropriate amnesty or indemnity for past acts not constituting violations of the laws of war or international human rights.” 
Ethiopia, Special Prosecutor’s Office, Mengistu and Others case, Reply submitted in response to the objection filed by counsels for defendants, 23 May 1995, Conclusion.
France
In 1993, in its judgment in the Boudarel case, the Criminal Law Chamber of France’s Court of Cassation held:
Rejection of the appeal lodged by Wladyslav Sobanski and the National Association of Former Prisoners-Internees of Indochina Association nationale des anciens prisonniers-internés d’Indochine, civil parties, against the decision of the chambre d’accusation of the Court of Appeal of Paris of 20 December 19991, according to which there are no grounds for holding an investigation into the acts denounced by these civil parties against Georges X. …, under the classification of crimes against humanity.
Whereas it follows from the attacked decision and the documents of the proceedings that Wladyslav Sobanski and the National Association of Former Prisoners-Internees of Indochina, on 3 April 1991, declaring themselves as civil parties, lodged a complaint with the investigating judge of Paris against Georges X. …, on the count of crimes against humanity; whereas they stated that soldiers of the French expeditionary corps in Indochina were made prisoners and detained in northern Vietnam, for periods of variable duration, between October 1952 and August 1954, in an internment camp where Georges X. …, a French national, exercised the functions of political commissar and deputy commander in the ranks of the Viet-Minh; whereas they denounced the persecutions and the inhuman treatment he inflicted on the prisoners, with a view to their political indoctrination which was a condition of their survival, those “past rehabilitation” or “deviationists” being destined to death by malnutrition; whereas the complaint was communicated to the Prosecutor of the Republic who, on 23 May 1991, made requests to refuse the holding of an investigation, based on Article 30 of the law of 18 June 1966, according to which all crimes and offences committed in relation with the events following the Vietnamese insurrection and prior to 1 October 1957 are amnestied ipso iure;
Whereas, by order of 13 September 1991, the investigating judge considered that the acts denounced by the civil parties, supposing they were established, would constitute crimes against humanity, in the sense of Article 6c of the statute of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, annexed to the London Charter of 8 August 1945, and according to the law of 26 December 1964; whereas, due to the supremacy of the international norm over domestic law, they would not only be not subject to statutes of limitation, but also be excluded from the amnesty law of 18 June 1966; whereas the investigating judge has, in consequence, decided to hold an investigation upon these complaints;
Whereas, in order to overturn that order, on the appeal of the public prosecutor, and to hold that there are no grounds for holding an investigation, due to the extinguishing of the public action, the chambre d’accusation states, in particular, that “the offences Georges X. … is reproached with, being related to the events following the Vietnamese insurrection and having been committed prior to 1 October 1957, are envisaged by the amnesty law of 18 June 1966, which does not exclude any crime from its field of application”; whereas the judges add that if the crimes against humanity “included in domestic French law since the law of 26 December 1964, are by their nature not subject to statutes of limitation, the principle of their not being subject to limitation must be interpreted restrictively”; whereas they observe “that, in the absence of an express provision on that point, either under international law or internal law, it therefore cannot be validly supported that a principle of exclusion of amnesty for crimes of humanity has its source in the general philosophy of the inter-Allied London Charter of 8 August 1945 and the statute of the International Military Tribunal”; whereas they deduce that the amnesty must equally apply to crimes against humanity and therefore, under that classification, to the facts with which Georges X. … can be reproached;
Whereas, by thus admitting that the acts with which Georges X. … is reproached could be classified as crimes against humanity, the chambre d’accusation has misread the meaning and the impact of the texts addressed in the appeal;
Whereas, in fact, the provisions of the law of 26 December 1964, and of the statute of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, annexed to the London Charter of 8 August 1945 only concern the acts committed on behalf of the European Axis countries; whereas, in addition, the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Tokyo, which was neither ratified nor published in France and which did not enter into the provisions of the law of 26 December 1964 or of the United Nations resolution of 13 February 1946, in its Article 5 only envisages the acts of violence committed by the Japanese war criminals or their accomplices; whereas, thus, the acts denounced by the civil parties, subsequent to World War II, were not suitable for receiving the classification of crimes against humanity in the sense of the texts cited above;
Whereas, however, despite the error of law committed, the attacked decision is not censured, since the Court of Cassation is able to assure itself that the acts with which Georges X. … is reproached, however they could be classified under common law, necessarily come under the field of application of Article 30 of the law of 18 June 1966 on amnesty for all acts committed in relation with the events following the Vietnamese insurrection;
From which follows that the end of the public action was rightly declared and that, the refusal to hold an investigation being justified, the appeal cannot be received. 
France, Court of Cassation, Boudarel case, Appeal Nr. 92-82273, Judgment, 1 April 1993.
Netherlands
In 2007, in its judgment in the Abdullah F case, the Hague District Court of the Netherlands stated:
The defence also argued that there could be no conviction, claiming that in the meantime an amnesty law had entered into force in Afghanistan. The Court explains this argument as a plea to disallow the public prosecutor: because of the amnesty law the Public Prosecution Service would not be entitled to criminal proceedings.
In his closing speech the public prosecutor submitted a translation of what is said to be the final text of that law adopted by the Afghan Parliament, which meanwhile – according to a message on the internet submitted by the defence – would have been signed by the President of Afghanistan. The public prosecutor stated that he did not know if the President had indeed passed this law by signing it.
Although it has not been established whether this amnesty law entered into force in Afghanistan, the Court is aware of the fact that in Afghanistan discussions were held about a possible amnesty for persons who were involved in the various hostilities and armed conflicts during the past 25 years. It appeared that such an amnesty regulation is not undisputed. Opponents point out that this law has been adopted by warlords who themselves would have to fear most if they were to be prosecuted. Whatever the result of that discussion may be, the Court believes that the entry into force of such a law in Afghanistan does not automatically imply that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service is no longer entitled to start criminal proceedings against suspects who are residing in the Netherlands. However, based on the text that was produced during the hearing, the Court believes in any case that there is no general pardon for individual crimes, so the right of victims to contest these crimes remains intact.
This also refers to the earlier considerations regarding legality. However, the Court is aware of the fact that an amnesty regulation can have great importance within the framework of the attempts to reach reconciliation and recovery of stability. This does not affect the unbearable thought that war criminals would be able to travel freely abroad and could end up standing there face to face with their victims who meanwhile have fled to other countries. This does not only involve the Afghan, but also the Dutch legal order.
In this respect the District Court considers that the fact that an amnesty regulation has been adopted should not be overlooked, but at the same time this does not imply that the right to prosecute should become ineffective. 
Netherlands, Hague District Court, Abdullah F case, Judgment, 25 June 2007.
Peru
In 2007, in the Santiago Enrique Martin Rivas case, Peru’s Constitutional Court stated:
28. Amnesty laws cannot be enacted if contrary to international obligations arising from international human rights treaties ratified by the state of Peru.
30. The obligations assumed by Peru by ratifying human rights treaties include the duty to guarantee the rights which … are non-derogable and whose violations the state is internationally obliged to punish. In conformity with Article V of the Preliminary Title of the Code of Constitutional Procedure, this is based on treaties that criminalise acts which under international law cannot be subject of amnesties because they contravene minimum standards for the protection of human dignity. 
Peru, Constitutional Court, Santiago Enrique Martin Rivas case, Case No. 679-2550-PA/TC, Judgment of 2 March 2007, §§ 28 and 30; see also § 58.
The Court also stated:
52. … The control of amnesty laws … is based on the assumption that the criminal legislator has acted within the constitutional framework and with all due respect to fundamental rights.
53. This is not the case when it is proved that in exercising its competence to enact amnesty laws, the legislator tried to cover up the commission of crimes against humanity. This is not the case either when the legislator’s aim was to “guarantee” impunity for serious violations of human rights. 
Peru, Constitutional Court, Santiago Enrique Martin Rivas case, Case No. 679-2550-PA/TC, Judgment of 2 March 2007, §§ 52–53.
South Africa
In the Azapo case in 1996 in which the appellants challenged the constitutionality of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995, which granted amnesties from personal criminal and civil liability for the covered unlawful activities, a South African Court stated:
It is however, unnecessary, in our judgment, to consider further the applicability of the jus cogens to the interpretation of the Constitution. That is because there is an exception to the peremptory rule prohibiting an amnesty in relation to crimes against humanity contained in Additional Protocol II.
In our judgment this subarticle [Article 6(5) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] indicates that there is no peremptory rule of international law which prohibits the granting of the broadest possible amnesty in the case of conflicts of the kind which existed in South Africa prior to the firm “cut-off date” referred to in the post-amble to the Constitution. 
South Africa, Cape Provincial Division, Azapo case, Judgment, 6 May 1996.
In the same case in 1996, South Africa’s Constitutional Court was asked to decide upon the constitutionality of a provision of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995 according to which amnesty can be granted to persons prepared to make “full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to acts associated with a political objective”. The Azanian People’s Organisation argued that the State was obliged by international law to prosecute those responsible for gross human rights violations and that the relevant provision authorizing amnesty for such offenders constituted a breach of international law including Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I, Article 50 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II, Article 129 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III and Article 146 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. In considering this argument, the Court stated that it was “doubtful whether the Geneva Conventions of 1949 read with the relevant Protocols thereto apply at all to the situation in which this country found itself during the years of the conflict”. The Court referred to Article 6(5) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II and stated that in situations of internal armed conflict, “there is no obligation on the part of a contracting state to ensure the prosecution of those who might have performed acts of violence or other acts which would ordinarily be characterised as serious invasions of human rights”. In conclusion, the Court held that the wording of the provision in question did not violate the South African Constitution. 
South Africa, Constitutional Court, Azapo case, Judgment, 25 July 1996.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 1993, in the context of peace talks between the three parties to the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ICRC reported that “the Bosnian Government says it stands ready to release all prisoners, except war criminals, after an amnesty has been proclaimed”. 
ICRC, Paper on unconditional and unilateral release of all prisoners presented during talks among the three sides to the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Geneva, 2–4 January 1993, annexed to Report of the UN Secretary-General on the activities of the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, UN Doc. S/25050, 6 January 1993, Annex IV, § 2(a).
Central African Republic
In Article 2 of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of the Central African Republic and the Armée Populaire pour la Restauration de la Démocratie (APRD), Front Démocratique du Peuple Centrafricain (FDPC) and Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement (UFDR), the parties agreed to
[t]he promulgation of a law of general amnesty with regard to the soldiers, combatants and civilians of the politico-military movements of APRD, FDPC and UFDR for crimes and offences prosecuted under national Central African jurisdiction, with the exception of crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. 
Accord de Paix entre le Gouvernement de la République Centrafricaine et les Mouvements politico–militaires centrafricains désignés ci–après: Armée Populaire pour la Restauration de la Démocratie (APRD), Front Démocratique du Peuple Centrafricain (FDPC) et Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement (UFDR) (Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of the Central African Republic and the Central African Politico–Military Movements Designated Below: The People’s Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD), The Democratic Front for the People of the Central African Republic (FDPC), the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UDFR)), Libreville, 21 June 2008, Article 2.
China
A decision taken in 1956 by the Chinese National People’s Congress adopted as policy for the prosecution of Japanese war criminals that those Japanese whose criminal acts were of secondary importance or who showed good signs of repentance would be dealt with leniently and spared prosecution. Those Japanese war criminals who had committed serious crimes would be sentenced on an individual basis according to the crimes they had committed and their behaviour during detention. 
China, Decision on the handling of Japanese war criminals under detention who committed crimes during the Japanese Invasion War by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, 25 April 1956, Documents on Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, World Knowledge Press, Beijing, Vol. 4, pp. 58–59.
Colombia
In 2006, the Government of Colombia stated before the Committee against Torture:
[M]ention should be made of the adoption and entry into force of Act No. 589 of 6 July 2000, which defines the crimes of genocide, enforced disappearance and forced displacement and imposes heavier penalties for the crime of torture, in keeping with the main international standards in that regard. Furthermore, the Act stipulates that such crimes shall not be eligible for amnesty or clemency. 
Colombia, Comments by the Government of Colombia before the Committee against Torture on the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, 13 June 2006, UN Doc. CAT/C/COL/CO/3/Add.1, § 5.
Côte d’Ivoire
In 2009, in its report to the UN Human Rights Council, Côte d’Ivoire stated: “[T]he political and military crises faced by Côte d’Ivoire since 1999, exacerbated by the war which broke out in September 2002, have had many grave consequences in the political, economic and social spheres.” 
Côte d’Ivoire, Report to the UN Human Rights Council, 3 September 2009, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/6/CIV/1, § 136.
Côte d’Ivoire also stated: “Amnesty laws and/or presidential pardons issued in the context of political negotiations specify that they do not apply to those responsible for attacks on physical integrity or to serious violations of human rights.” 
Côte d’Ivoire, Report to the UN Human Rights Council, 3 September 2009, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/6/CIV/1, § 48.
Côte d’Ivoire
In 2013, in its initial report to the Human Rights Committee, Côte d’Ivoire stated:
Extrajudicial executions
193. Numerous extrajudicial executions were committed by police forces, armed forces, militias and armed groups after conflict broke out in 2002, peaking after the 2010 presidential election.
194. The National Commission of Inquiry, set up on 20 July 2011 to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed during the post-election period from 31 October 2010 to 15 May 2011, identified 2,018 cases of summary executions carried out for political and/or ethnic reasons.
Measures taken to prevent further violations
197. The Government has opened judicial and non-judicial inquiries in all cases, conducted by the national authorities and by intergovernmental and non-governmental bodies. Great stress is also being laid on national reconciliation.
4. Prosecutions
235. The State of Côte d’Ivoire has taken measures against human rights violations attributable to members of the defence and security forces in the performance of their functions. Disciplinary actions and criminal prosecutions have been brought against those concerned by the Military Tribunal.
236. Amnesty laws and/or presidential pardons issued in the course of political negotiations specify that they are not applicable to the perpetrators of acts of violence against the person and serious human rights violations. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Initial report to the Human Rights Committee, 21 May 2013, UN Doc. CCPR/C/CIV/1, submitted 19 March 2013, §§ 193–194, 197 and 235–236.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In the framework of the 2008 DRC Pledge of Commitment signed by a number of armed groups, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), taking note of the pledge of the contracting parties and upon their request, committed itself in conformity with the pertinent recommendations of the Conference on Peace, Stability and Development in the Provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu to “[s]ubmit to the Parliament a draft amnesty law for acts of war and insurgency, covering the period from June 2003 until the enactment of the law but excluding war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.” 
Acte d’engagement signé par le CNDP-Mouvement Politico-Militaire, la PARECO/FAP, les Mai-Mai Kasindien, les Mai-Mai Kifuafua, les Mai-Mai Vurondo, les Mai-Mai Mongol, l’UJPS, les Mai-Mai Rwenzori et le Simba avec l’engagement solennel des Représentants de la Communauté Internationale, facilitateurs du présent acte d’engagement – les Nations-Unies, la Conférence Internationale sur la Région des Grands Lacs, les Etats-Unis d’Amérique, l’Union Africaine, l’Union Européenne et le Gouvernement (Pledge of Commitment signed by the CNDP-Mouvement Politico-Militaire, PARECO/FAP, Mai-Mai Kasindien, Mai-Mai Kifuafua, Mai-Mai Vurondo, Mai-Mai Mongol, UJPS, Mai-Mai Rwenzori and Simba with the solemn commitment of the representatives of the international community, facilitators of this pledge of commitment – the United Nations, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the United States of America, the European Union and the Government), Goma, 23 January 2008, Article IV, § 1.
Djibouti
In 1994, Djibouti concluded the Agreement on Peace and National Reconciliation with the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (Front pour la Restauration de l’Unité et de la Démocratie – FRUD), which provides: “The exiled combatants and soldiers of FRUD are granted amnesty without exception for the acts committed before 12 June 1994”. 
Djibouti, Agreement on Peace and National Reconciliation concluded between the Government of Djibouti and the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (Front pour la Restauration de l’Unité et de la Démocratie – FRUD), 26 December 1994, Title VII.
Djibouti
In 2010, in its initial report to the Committee against Torture, Djibouti stated:
46. Following independence in 1977, Djibouti experienced a difficult period of internal tension, which led to a visible, steady rise in violations of human rights and individual freedoms. This state of affairs reached its height during the civil war between government forces and the armed opposition of the Front pour la restauration de l’unité et de la démocratie [Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy] (FRUD).
47. With the signing of [the] peace agreement between the warring parties in 1994 and again in 2001, the human rights situation improved dramatically. …
49. … Djibouti has … adopted a number of laws … These include the law declaring amnesty for acts other than droit commun offences committed between 1994 and the date of the law’s promulgation … Many … demobilized FRUD combatants have benefited from this legislation. 
Djibouti, Initial report to the Committee against Torture, 18 January 2011, UN Doc. CAT/C/DJI/1, submitted 21 July 2010, §§ 46–47 and 49; see also § 55.
El Salvador
In 2009, in its written replies to the Committee against Torture concerning its second periodic report, El Salvador stated:
10. Indicate if, in accordance with the obligations of the Pact [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], the General Amnesty Law for Consolidation of Peace of 1993 has been amended so as to not bar the investigation and punishment of those responsible for torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment during the armed conflict.
19. The General Amnesty for the Consolidation of Peace (LAGCP) has not been reformed since its entry into force; nonetheless … the amnesty is not applicable to those cases where the reparation of a person is being pursued for [the violation of] a fundamental right. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the list of issues formulated by the Committee against Torture in connection with its consideration of the second periodic report of El Salvador, 12 October 2009, UN Doc. CAT/C/SLV/Q/2/Add.1, submitted 1 October 2009, Question 10, § 19.
El Salvador
In 2010, in its written replies to the Human Rights Committee concerning its sixth periodic report, El Salvador stated in response to a question on the recommendation to review the General Amnesty for Consolidation of Peace Act of 1993:
5. As the State has already mentioned to the Committee against Torture, since the new Government assumed its functions on 1 June 2009, … the State of El Salvador has recognized the rights of victims of violations of human rights to know the truth, to have access to justice and to receive adequate reparations.
6. Even though the Legislative Branch has not currently included within its work plan the revision of the Amnesty Law of 1993, the legal impossibility of applying it in judicial bodies has been declared by the Constitutional Division of the Supreme Court of Justice, in cases of serious violations of human rights, since the year 2000 (judgment of 26 September 2000 on the request that the General Amnesty for Consolidation of Peace be declared unconstitutional).
7. In effect, this judgment, numbered 24-97/21-98, opened the possibility for criminal judges to consider the inapplicability of the Amnesty Law in concrete cases of violations of human rights that occurred during the internal armed conflict. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the list of issues formulated by the Human Rights Committee in connection with its consideration of the sixth periodic report of El Salvador, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SLV/Q/6/Add.1, 21 September 2010, §§ 5–7.
France
In 2007, in its fourth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, France stated:
47. The amnesty acts of 9 November 1988 and 10 January 1990 were adopted in the framework of the settlement of the conflict between the different communities in the Caledonian archipelago. To the extent that these two acts both satisfied a need for social appeasement and safeguarded the interests of victims, the European Commission on Human Rights found them not to be in breach of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in particular article 2 thereof.
A. The problem of amnesties in periods of transition
49. While it seems of vital importance to ensure that States meet their obligation to bring the perpetrators of human rights violations to book, amnesties are a means of “appeasement” in countries going through a phase of national reconciliation.
50. The development of international criminal courts guarantees that the extremely serious crimes which they sanction do not go unpunished, as these crimes are never covered by amnesty acts. 
France, Fourth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, UN Doc. CCPR/C/FRA/4, 8 July 2007, submitted 13 February 2007, §§ 47 and 49–50.
Germany
In 2004, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the representative of Germany stated:
Negotiating with armed non-State actors is a tricky issue. It requires flexibility and realism, but it should not come at the expense of impunity. Perpetrators of serious crimes against civilians must be brought to justice, irrespective of whether those groups operate against or in complicity with their respective Governments. This is a very contentious issue because questions of national sovereignty are at stake. But national sovereignty cannot and should not be an excuse when thousands of innocent, vulnerable civilians are threatened. The imposition of targeted sanctions and travel restrictions are possible measures against non-State armed groups and those who back them. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.4990, 14 June 2004, p. 25.
Peru
In 2006, during the consideration of the fourth periodic report of Peru before the Committee against Torture, a representative of Peru stated:
Progress … [has] been made concerning the use of amnesty laws which precluded prosecution of alleged torturers, as … [has] been demonstrated in the Inter-American Court judgment of 14 March 2001 relating to the Barrios Altos case. The Court … ruled that Acts Nos. 26,479 and 26,492 (relating to amnesty) … [are] incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights and consequently lacked legal effect. A subsequent judgment by the Peruvian Constitutional Court … extended that ruling to include not only amnesty laws but also any practices intended to hinder investigation or punishment of the violation of the right to life or physical safety. The Supreme Court … set up a specific subdivision to deal with human rights violations in 2004, as … [did] the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and cases that had previously been dismissed under amnesty laws – such as those concerning Barrios Altos, La Cantuta, the Desaparecidos del Santa and the journalist Pedro Yauri – … [were] reopened, thus bringing hope to thousands of victims or their families that justice would be done. 
Peru, Statement before the Committee against Torture during the consideration of the fourth periodic report of Peru, 9 May 2006, UN Doc. CAT/C/SR. 697 § 4.
Senegal
In 1995, in its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Senegal stated:
83. Amnesty laws also exist: the Act of 4 June 1988, the Act of 10 July 1991 and the Act of 8 July 1993. These legal texts were adopted by the Senegalese legislative authorities between 1988 and 1993 in response to the growing instability in the Casamance region, in the south of the country, after December 1982. Their aim was to enable the authorities to restore peace throughout the country whenever the opportunity arose and to repair the national social fabric, which had been damaged by events in this region.
84. Under article 8 of these texts, all offences and all principal, related, secondary or supplementary judgements in criminal or correctional cases were amnestied under the first articles. They were to be expunged forever from the police record of the persons concerned. Moreover, these texts prohibited any public servant or other official from referring to these offences or to the judgements relating to them under any pretext whatsoever.
85. As far as the facts at issue are concerned, it will be remembered that the 1980s were a time of serious instability in the Casamance region in the south of Senegal and that this resulted in the intervention of the armed forces to restore and maintain order. This conflict between the central Government and the separatist movement in the region (MFDC [Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance]) took the form of armed confrontations leading to deaths and injuries on both sides.
86. One of these clashes, at Kaguitt on 1 September 1992 was particularly deadly, as it occurred the day after the agreement was signed between the Senegalese Government and the separatist movement. The latter broke its promises by suddenly taking up arms again. The security forces arrested many persons who were brought before the courts.
87. The 1993 agreement led to the release of all persons detained in connection with this event, even before trial. However, some Senegalese and international non-governmental organizations took up the Kaguitt file by lodging a complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul and with the monitoring bodies of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. These complaints contained a list of the names of persons who had allegedly disappeared or been executed extrajudicially during the September 1992 events.
88. The Senegalese Government was questioned by both bodies and asked to conduct investigations in accordance with the provisions of article 12 of this [1984] Convention [against Torture] and to try and punish the guilty parties.
89. The Senegalese authorities pointed out that the amnesty laws had erased the memory of this tragic episode in Senegal and that, in their opinion, further reference to these events would jeopardize the peace which had already been established and even the stability of the country.
96. With regard to the presumed disappearances and extrajudicial executions in connection with the events in Casamance in general, the human rights monitoring bodies are demanding that impartial investigations should be conducted in accordance with article 12 of the Convention to identify the persons responsible, who would then be tried and punished. The Senegalese authorities have pointed out, in this connection, that the amnesty laws no longer permit such investigations, which would be likely to jeopardize the newly restored peace, national cohesion and the stability of public institutions.
97. The Senegalese authorities have received the reply that article 79 of their own Constitution gives the Convention precedence over the internal law of the State party to the international instrument. As the Convention is a multilateral international instrument reciprocally applied by several States parties, this situation is becoming a permanent problem. 
Senegal, Second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 11 July 1995, UN Doc. CAT/C/17/Add.14, submitted 27 March 1995, §§ 83–89 and 96–97.
Senegal
In 2011, in its third periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Senegal stated:
II. Implementation of the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee
The Committee is concerned that, in its report, the State party invokes a discrepancy between international and internal law to justify granting impunity for acts of torture on the basis of the amnesty laws.
202. War and armed conflict are closely associated with the denial of fundamental human rights. Their prolongation is tantamount to creating a climate conducive to the perpetration of acts of torture and other violations of the physical integrity of human beings.
203. However, the Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984, clearly provides that: “The peoples of our planet have a sacred right to peace” and that “the preservation of the right of peoples to peace and the promotion of its implementation constitute a fundamental obligation of each State”.
204. Senegal fully subscribes to the view expressed by the Human Rights Committee in its general comment No. 20 of 10 April 1992 on the prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when it states that: “Amnesties are generally incompatible with the duty of States to investigate such acts; to guarantee freedom from such acts within their jurisdiction; and to ensure that they do not occur in the future.”
205. Nevertheless, Senegal would like the Committee to take into account the fact that the sole aim of the aforementioned amnesties was to restore peace and to put an end to a situation that was conducive to massive violations of fundamental human rights.
206. The amnesty laws adopted in order to bring peace to the Casamance region were born out of the necessity to respond to “a pressing social need” and Senegal, in good faith, maintains that it acted to safeguard the general interest without undermining the basic rights of the individual in any fundamental way.
207. Indeed, under the Senegalese legal system, although an amnesty law does bar criminal prosecution and remits any sentences that have been handed down, it does not eradicate material facts or their civil consequences. It is always possible for victims to refer their case to the civil courts in order to obtain a settlement that will grant them just satisfaction. 
Senegal, Third periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 5 October 2011, UN Doc. CAT/C/SEN/3, submitted 9 February 2011, §§ 202–207.
Somalia
In 2011, during the consideration of Somalia’s report to the Human Rights Council, a statement of the delegation of Somalia was summarized by the Council as follows: “[W]ar crimes and crimes against humanity will not be the object of any amnesty”. 
Somalia, Statement by the delegation of Somalia before the Human Rights Council during the consideration of the report of Somalia, published in the Report of the Working Group of the Human Rights Council of the Human Rights Council on the Universal Periodic Review, 11 July 2011, UN Doc. A/HRC/18/6, § 73.
Somalia
In 2011, in its comments on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning Somalia’s report, Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government stated that “war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of the laws and customs of warfare will not be the object of an amnesty.” 
Somalia, Comments by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning the report of Somalia, submitted 21 September 2011, § 98.111.
Spain
In 2009, in its written replies to the Committee against Torture concerning its fifth periodic report, Spain stated:
164. … The first article of the [1977] Amnesty Law is reproduced, with the aim of better understanding the objective of the Amnesty Law, which provides that [the following] are amnestied:
a. All acts that have a political aim, regardless of their result, [if they were] considered offences and faults [at the time], and [were] carried out before 15 December 1976;
b. All acts of an identical nature that took place between 15 December 1976 and 15 June 1977, and that had a political aim and the objective was the reestablishment of public liberties and the revindication of the autonomous regions of Spain;
c. All acts of an identical nature and intent to those mentioned in the above paragraph that took place until 6 October 1977, as long as they did not entail grave violence to life and person.
165. Secondly, the formulation of the question seems to indicate that arguments concerning the principle of legality or statutes of limitation of the offence should not be invoked with regard to the offence of torture. In this respect, it should be recalled that in our legal system statutes of limitation do not apply to those acts that constitute crimes against humanity or genocide, [and there is no] possible application of the Amnesty Law.
166. In fact, as paragraph c of the first article of the Amnesty Law states, the amnesty will not be applied if the acts have resulted in “grave violence to life and person”. It will thus correspond to the judicial bodies to consider if the cases subjected before it fall within the framework of the Amnesty Law or not. It should be emphasized that the prosecution of the offences corresponds to the judicial organs and it is these that will determine in which cases the Amnesty Law is applicable.
167. Thirdly, with regard to a possible conflict between the Amnesty Law and the obligations of the Spanish State under article 5 of the [1984] Convention against Torture concerning the establishment of jurisdiction over the crime of torture and the [duty to] prosecute or extradite persons accused of inflicting acts of torture, it should be mentioned that the Convention against Torture … entered into force on 26 June 1987, while the Law of 1977 refers to acts that took place before the adoption of the former law. Having mentioned this, however, the efforts undertaken in the last years by the Spanish State with regard to the victims of the civil war and the dictatorship must be emphasized.
169. Nonetheless, the non-applicability of statutes of limitation in the Amnesty Law for acts of torture that resulted in “grave violence to life and person” applies to acts committed between 15 June 1976 and 15 December 1977; with regard to the [acts] prior to the first of these dates, paragraph a) of article 1 of the above-mentioned law, applies. 
Spain, Written replies by the Government of Spain to the Committee against Torture concerning the list of issues raised in connection with the fifth periodic report of Spain, 22 September 2009, UN Doc. CAT/C/ESP/Q/5/Add.1, §§ 164–167 and 169.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
In October 2001, the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia confirmed its intention “to grant amnesty to the members of the so-called NLA [National Liberation Army] (UCK) who voluntarily surrendered their weapons during the NATO operation ‘Essential Harvest’”. The President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia stated that this would initiate a process of reintegration of those who did not commit crimes and that the amnesty would allow the process of return of the security forces of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the regions that were temporarily out of their control. However, he stressed that “the amnesty does not refer to those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, torture and murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing, demolition of religious buildings and other acts for which the International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia is responsible”. 
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Statement by the President, 8 October 2001.
Members of the NLA welcomed the amnesty but added that it should be given force of law, and demanded the release of rebel prisoners. 
BBC News, 12 October 2001.
Uganda
In 2008, in its written reply to the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning Uganda’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Uganda stated:
The Amnesty (Amendment) Act, 2006 provides for Persons ineligible for amnesty as follows:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2 of the principal Act a person shall not be eligible for grant of amnesty if he or she is declared not eligible by the Minister by statutory instrument made with the approval of parliament.”
Formal [c]riminal and civil justice measures shall be applied to any individual who is alleged to have committed serious crimes or human rights violations in the course of the conflict. 
Uganda, Written replies to the list of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the initial report of Uganda under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 8 September 2008, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/UGA/Q/1/Add.1, submitted 5 September 2008, § 6.
Uganda
In 2008, whilst responding to questions from the Committee on the Rights of the Child related to Uganda’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the Ugandan delegate stated:
56. … [T]he five [captured] LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army] commanders were not subject to amnesty or pardon. On the other hand, children who had been abducted at the age of 12 and had in some cases reached the age of 30 tended to be seen as victims: they had been forced to commit crimes, sometimes against their own relatives, but were not necessarily considered criminals.
60. … [T]he [2000] Amnesty Act included a provision denying amnesty to those who had committed heinous crimes during the armed conflict. The guilt experienced by those who had committed crimes against their own kin was indeed an important problem. However, following broad consultation among communities on how to deal with such offences, it was felt that the traditional justice system known as “mato oput” provided the best hope of cleansing and forgiveness. Those who feared to return to their own village were often taken in by other communities who saw them as victims caught up in the tragedy of war.
63. … [T]he question of women who might have borne several children to men who had abducted them and raped them over a period of years was a complex one. In psychosocial terms, a woman had to come to terms with the reality that the children were not only hers but also those of a man who had violated her. On the other hand, while such actions constituted crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it was necessary to decide whether peace or justice should come first. The victims had come forward and their captors must also be persuaded to come forward in order to move on to the next phase of restoring justice. The only way to achieve justice and peace at the same time was through the traditional “mato oput” system.  
Uganda, Statement before the Committee on the Rights of the Child during consideration of the initial report of Uganda under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Geneva, 24 September 2008, UN Doc. CRC/C/SR.1345, submitted 16 September 2008, §§ 56, 60 and 63.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
At the CDDH, the USSR, in its explanation of vote on Article 10 of the draft Additional Protocol II (which later became Article 6), stated that it “was convinced that the text elaborated by Committee I could not be construed as enabling war criminals, or those guilty of crimes against peace and humanity, to evade severe punishment in any circumstances whatsoever”. 
USSR, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. IX, CDDH/I/SR.64, 7 June 1976, p. 319, § 85.
Venezuela
In 2011, in its core document forming part of Venezuela’s reports on international human rights instruments, Venezuela stated: “Within the framework of the protection of human rights, the Venezuelan State has an obligation to punish crimes against humanity and war crimes, which are not time-barred and cannot be subject to pardon or amnesty.” 
Venezuela, Human rights instruments core document forming part of Venezuela’s reports, 22 February 2013, UN Doc. HRI/CORE/VEN/2011, submitted 5 July 2011, § 123.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 1997, the UN Security Council:
Urges the Government of the Republic of Croatia to eliminate ambiguities in implementation of the Amnesty Law, and to implement it fairly and objectively in accordance with international standards, in particular by concluding all investigations of crimes covered by the amnesty and undertaking an immediate and comprehensive review with United Nations and local Serb participation of all charges outstanding against individuals for serious violations of international humanitarian law which are not covered by the amnesty in order to end proceedings against all individuals against whom there is insufficient evidence. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1120, 14 July 1997, § 7, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2000 on the establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, the UN Security Council:
Recalling that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General appended to his signature of the Lomé Agreement a statement that the United Nations holds the understanding that the amnesty provisions of the Agreement shall not apply to international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. 
UN, Security Council, Res. 1315, 14 August 2000, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the situation in Guinea-Bissau, the UN Security Council called upon the National Assembly of Guinea-Bissau, “while addressing the issue of granting an amnesty for all those involved in military interventions since 1980, to take account of the principles of justice and fight against impunity”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1580, 22 December 2004, § 4, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In 1997, in a statement by its President, the UN Security Council called upon the Government of Croatia “to remove uncertainty about the implementation of its amnesty law, in particular by finalizing without delay the list of war crime suspects on the basis of existing evidence and in strict accordance with international law”. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1997/15, 19 March 1997, p. 2.
UN Security Council
In 2007, in a statement by its President on women and peace and security, the UN Security Council stated:
The Security Council stresses the need to end impunity for acts of gender-based violence in situations of armed conflict and emphasizes the responsibility of all States to put an end to impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes including those relating to sexual and other violence against women and girls, and in this regard stresses the need to exclude these crimes, where feasible from amnesty provisions. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/2007/5, 7 March 2007, p. 2.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon all States to end impunity for perpetrators of crimes committed against children, recognizing in this regard the contribution of the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a way to prevent violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular when children are victims of serious crimes, including the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and to bring perpetrators of such crimes to justice, and not to grant amnesties for these crimes. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 58/157, 22 December 2003, § 8, voting record: 179-1-0-11.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon all States to end impunity for perpetrators of crimes committed against children, recognizing in this regard the contribution of the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a way to prevent violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular when children are victims of serious crimes, including the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, to bring perpetrators of such crimes to justice and not grant amnesties for these crimes and to strengthen international cooperation towards the goal of ending impunity. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/261, 23 December 2004, § 25, voting record: 166-2-1-22.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly recognized “the contribution of the International Criminal Court in ending impunity for the most serious crimes against children, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” and called upon States “not to grant amnesties for such crimes”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/231, 23 December 2005, § 16, voting record: 130-1-0-60.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly recognized “the contribution of the International Criminal Court in ending impunity for the most serious crimes against children, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” and called upon States “not to grant amnesties for such crimes”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/146, 19 December 2006, § 18, voting record: 185-1-0-6.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly recognized “the contribution of the International Criminal Court in ending impunity for the most serious crimes against children, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” and called upon States “not to grant amnesties for such crimes”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 62/141, 18 December 2007, § 55, voting record: 183-1-0-8.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2002 on impunity, the UN Commission on Human Rights recognized that “amnesties should not be granted to those who commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that constitute serious crimes”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2002/79, 25 April 2002, § 2, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on impunity, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Also emphasizes the importance of taking all necessary and possible steps to hold accountable perpetrators, including their accomplices, of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, recognizes that amnesties should not be granted to those who commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that constitute serious crimes and urges States to take action in accordance with their obligations under international law. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/72, 25 April 2003, § 2, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Calls upon all States to put an end to impunity, as a way to prevent violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including where children are victims, in particular for serious crimes, such as the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, to bring perpetrators of such crimes to justice and not to grant amnesties for these crimes. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/86, 25 April 2003, § 6, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Calls upon all States to end impunity for perpetrators of crimes committed against children, recognizing in this regard the contribution of the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a way to prevent violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular when children are victims of serious crimes, including the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and to bring perpetrators of such crimes to justice, and not to grant amnesties for these crimes. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/48, 20 April 2004, § 6, voting record: 52-1-0.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on impunity, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Also recognizes that amnesties should not be granted to those who commit violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that constitute crimes, urges States to take action in accordance with their obligations under international law and welcomes the lifting, waiving, or nullification of amnesties and other immunities. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/72, 21 April 2004, § 3, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Calls upon all States to end impunity for perpetrators of crimes committed against children, recognizing in this regard the contribution of the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a way to prevent violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular when children are victims of serious crimes, including the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and to bring perpetrators of such crimes to justice, and not to grant amnesties for these crimes and to strengthen international cooperation towards the goal of ending impunity. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/44, 19 April 2005, § 7, voting record: 52-1-0.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on impunity, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Also recognizes that amnesties should not be granted to those who commit violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that constitute crimes, urges States to take action in accordance with their obligations under international law and welcomes the lifting, waiving, or nullification of amnesties and other immunities, and recognizes as well the Secretary-General’s conclusion that United Nations-endorsed peace agreements can never promise amnesties for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, or gross violations of human rights. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/81, 21 April 2005, § 3, adopted without a vote.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on the situation in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights emphasized that no provision for impunity for any act of genocide, “ethnic cleansing” or other serious war crimes, including rape, must be made in the peace plan. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1995/8, 18 August 1995, § 7; see also Res. 1993/17, 20 August 1993, § 3.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1999 on systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights noted that “the rights and obligations of States and individuals with respect to the violations referred to in the present resolution cannot, as a matter of international law, be extinguished by peace treaty, peace agreement, amnesty or by any other means”. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1999/16, 26 August 1999, § 13.
UN Secretary-General
In 2000, in his report on the establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, the UN Secretary-General noted:
22. While recognizing that amnesty is an accepted legal concept and a gesture of peace and reconciliation at the end of a civil war or an internal armed conflict, the United Nations has consistently maintained the position that amnesty cannot be granted in respect of international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity or other serious violations of international humanitarian law.
23. At the time of the signature of the Lomé Peace Agreement, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone was instructed to append to his signature on behalf of the United Nations a disclaimer to the effect that the amnesty provision contained in article IX of the Agreement (“absolute and free pardon”) shall not apply to international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law …
24. In the negotiations on the Statute of the Special Court, the Government of Sierra Leone concurred with the position of the United Nations and agreed to the inclusion of an amnesty clause which would read as follows: “an amnesty granted to any person falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Court in respect of the crimes referred to in articles 2 to 4 of the present Statute shall not be a bar to prosecution.” 
UN Secretary-General, Report on the establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, UN Doc. S/2000/915, 4 October 2000, §§ 22–24.
UN Secretary-General
In 2001, in a report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Secretary-General pointed out:
The granting of amnesties to those who committed serious violations of international humanitarian and criminal law is not acceptable. The experience of Sierra Leone has confirmed that such amnesties do not bring about lasting peace and reconciliation. 
UN Secretary-General, Report of the on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, UN Doc. S/2001/331, 30 March 2001, § 10.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Independent Expert)
In 1997, in a report on assistance to Guatemala in the field of human rights, the Independent Expert of the UN Commission on Human Rights stated:
The National Reconciliation Act [of Guatemala], which came into force on 29 December 1996 with the signing of the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace, leaves it to the courts to determine which acts committed by members of the army and the URNG [Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca] in the course of the armed conflict will be pardoned. Crimes against humanity are excluded from this. The burden of proof is being turned upside down, since it will be for the victim to demonstrate that the injury suffered was not a reasonable consequence of the conflict. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/90, 22 January 1997, § 100.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Special Rapporteur)
In 1998, in the conclusions and recommendations of his fifth report on the question of the human rights of all persons subjected to any form of detention or imprisonment, in particular, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights stated with respect to the Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court:
In this connection, the Special Rapporteur is aware of suggestions according to which nationally granted amnesties could be introduced as a bar to the proposed court’s jurisdiction. He considers any such move subversive not just of the project at hand, but of international legality in general. It would gravely undermine the purpose of the proposed court, by permitting States to legislate their nationals out of the jurisdiction of the court. It would undermine international legality, because it is axiomatic that States may not invoke their own law to avoid their obligations under international law. Since international law requires States to penalize the types of crime contemplated in the draft statute of the court in general, and torture in particular, and to bring perpetrators to justice, the amnesties in question are, ipso facto, violations of the concerned States’ obligations to bring violators to justice. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on Torture, Fifth report, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1998/38, 24 December 1997, § 228.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1984 on enforced disappearances, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly called upon the governments of member States “to support the preparation and adoption by the United Nations of a declaration setting forth the following principles: … enforced disappearance is a crime against humanity which … may not be covered by amnesty laws”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 828, 26 September 1984, § 13(a)(i)(3).
European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in 1993, the European Parliament stated that it believed that “the problem of impunity … can take the form of amnesty, immunity, extraordinary jurisdiction and constrains democracy by effectively condoning human rights infringements and distressing victims”. It stressed that “there should be no question of impunity for those responsible for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia”. 
European Parliament, Resolution on human rights in the world and Community human rights policy for the years 1991/1992, 12 March 1993, §§ 7 and 8.
No data.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Furundžija case in 1998, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated:
The fact that torture is prohibited by a peremptory norm of international law has other effects at the inter-state and individual levels. At the inter-state level, it serves to internationally de-legitimise any legislative, administrative or judicial act authorising torture. It would be senseless to argue, on the one hand, that on account of the jus cogens value of the prohibition against torture, treaties or customary rules providing for torture would be null and void ab initio, and then be unmindful of a State say, taking national measures authorising or condoning torture or absolving its perpetrators through an amnesty law. If such a situation were to arise, the national measures, violating the general principle and any relevant treaty provision, would produce the legal effects discussed above and in addition would not be accorded international legal recognition. Proceedings could be initiated by potential victims if they had locus standi before a competent international or national judicial body with a view to asking it to hold the national measure to be internationally unlawful; or the victim could bring a civil suit for damage in a foreign court, which would therefore be asked inter alia to disregard the legal value of the national authorising act. What is even more important is that perpetrators of torture acting upon or benefiting from those national measures may nevertheless be held criminally responsible for torture, whether in a foreign State, or in their own State under a subsequent regime. In short, in spite of possible national authorisation by legislative or judicial bodies to violate the principle banning torture, individuals remain bound to comply with that principle. As the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg put it: “individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual State”. 
ICTY, Furundžija case, Judgment, 10 December 1998, § 155.
Human Rights Committee
In 1992, in its General Comment on the prohibition of torture and cruel treatment or punishment, the Human Rights Committee noted:
Some States have granted amnesty in respect of acts of torture. Amnesties are generally incompatible with the duty of States to investigate such acts; to guarantee freedom from such acts within their jurisdiction; and to ensure that they do not occur in the future. States may not deprive individuals of the right to an effective remedy, including compensation and such full rehabilitation as may be possible. 
Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 20 (Article 7 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), 10 March 1992, § 15.
Human Rights Committee
In its General Comment on the Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties under the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2004, the Human Rights Committee held:
Where the investigations referred to in paragraph 15 reveal violations of certain Covenant rights, States Parties must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. As with failure to investigate, failure to bring to justice perpetrators of such violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant. These obligations arise notably in respect of those violations recognized as criminal under either domestic or international law, such as torture and similar cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (article 7), summary and arbitrary killing (article 6) and enforced disappearance (articles 7 and 9 and, frequently, 6). Indeed, the problem of impunity for these violations, a matter of sustained concern by the Committee, may well be an important contributing element in the recurrence of the violations. When committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population, these violations of the Covenant are crimes against humanity (see Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, article 7).
Accordingly, where public officials or State agents have committed violations of the Covenant rights referred to in this paragraph, the States Parties concerned may not relieve perpetrators from personal responsibility, as has occurred with certain amnesties (see General Comment 20 (44)) and prior legal immunities and indemnities. Furthermore, no official status justifies persons who may be accused of responsibility for such violations being held immune from legal responsibility. 
Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31 [Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant], 26 May 2004, § 18.
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the third periodic report of the Sudan in 2007, the Human Rights Committee stated:
Despite the information provided by the State party about prosecutions of a number of perpetrators of human rights violations, the Committee notes with concern, particularly in the context of armed conflict, that widespread and systematic serious human rights violations, including murder, rape, forced displacement and attacks against the civil population, have been and continue to be committed with total impunity throughout the Sudan and particularly in Darfur … The Committee continues to be concerned at Decree No. 114 of 11 June 2006 relating to a general amnesty and its scope of application … (art. 2, 3, 6, 7 and 12 of the [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]).
The State party should:
(f) Ensure that no amnesty is granted to anyone believed to have committed, or to be committing, crimes of a particularly serious nature  
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the third periodic report of the Sudan, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SDN/CO/3, 29 August 2007, § 9.
[emphasis in original]
European Commission of Human Rights
In its admissibility decision in Dujardin and Others v. France in 1991 concerning the killing of four disarmed gendarmes by about 50 assailants in New Caledonia, in the aftermath of which an amnesty law had been adopted preventing the public authorities from prosecuting the assailants, the European Commission of Human Rights held:
The Commission considers … that the amnesty law, which is entirely exceptional in character, was adopted in the context of a process designed to resolve conflicts between the various communities of the islands.
It is not for the Commission to assess the advisability of the measures taken by France to that end. The State is justified in adopting, in the context of its criminal policy, any amnesty laws it might consider necessary, with the proviso, however, that a balance is maintained between the legitimate interests of the State and the interests of individual members of the public in having the right to life protected by law. 
European Commission of Human Rights, Dujardin and Others v. France, Admissibility Decision, 2 September 1991.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
In 1992, in a report on a case with respect to the Las Hojas massacres in El Salvador in 1983, during which about 74 persons were allegedly killed by members of the Salvadoran armed forces with the participation of members of the Civil Defence and which had led to a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held that the application of El Salvador’s 1987 Law on Amnesty to Achieve National Reconciliation
constitutes a clear violation of the obligation of the Salvadoran Government to investigate and punish the violations of the rights of the Las Hojas victims, and to provide compensation for damages resulting from the violations … The present amnesty law, as applied in these cases, by foreclosing the possibility of judicial relief in cases of murder, inhumane treatment and absence of judicial guarantees, denies the fundamental nature of the most basic human rights. It eliminates perhaps the single most effective means of enforcing such rights, the trial and punishment of offenders. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Case 10.287 (El Salvador), Report, 24 September 1992.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
In 1994, in a report on the situation of human rights in El Salvador, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated with respect to El Salvador’s General Amnesty Law for Consolidation of Peace that:
Regardless of any necessity that the peace negotiations might pose and irrespective of purely political considerations, the very sweeping General Amnesty Law [for Consolidation of Peace] passed by El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly constitutes a violation of the international obligations it undertook when it ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, because it makes possible a “reciprocal amnesty” without first acknowledging responsibility … because it applies to crimes against humanity, and because it eliminates any possibility of obtaining adequate pecuniary compensation, primarily for victims. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in El Salvador, Doc. OEA/Ser/L/V/II.86 Doc.5 rev. 1, June 1994.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
In 1999, in a report of a case concerning El Salvador’s 1993 General Amnesty Law for Consolidation of Peace, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated:
The Commission should emphasize that [this law] was applied to serious human rights violations in El Salvador between January 1, 1980, and January 1, 1992, including those examined and established by the Truth Commission. In particular, its effect was extended, among other things, to crimes such as summary executions, torture, and the forced disappearance of persons. Some of these crimes are considered of such gravity as to have justified the adoption of special conventions on the subject and the inclusion of specific measures for preventing impunity in their regard, including universal jurisdiction and inapplicability of the statute of limitations … The Commission also notes that Article 2 of [this law] was apparently applied to all violations of common Article 3 [of the 1949 Geneva Conventions] and of [the 1977 Additional Protocol II], committed by agents of the State during the armed conflict which took place in El Salvador. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Case 10.480 (El Salvador), Report, 27 January 1999, §§ 112 and 115.
The Commission concluded:
In approving and enforcing the General Amnesty Law, the Salvadoran State violated the right to judicial guarantees enshrined in Article 8(1) of the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights], to the detriment of the surviving victims of torture and of the relatives of … who were prevented from obtaining redress in the civil courts; all of this in relation to Article 1(1) of the Convention … In promulgating and enforcing the Amnesty Law, El Salvador has violated the right to judicial protection enshrined in Article 25 of the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights], to the detriment of the surviving victims and those with legal claims on behalf of … . 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Case 10.480 (El Salvador), Report, 27 January 1999, §§ 123 and 129.
In its conclusions, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated that El Salvador “has also violated, with respect to the same persons, common Article 3 of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Article 4 of [the 1977 Additional Protocol II]”. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Case 10.480 (El Salvador), Report, 27 January 1999, Chapter XI, § 2.
Moreover, in order to safeguard the rights of the victims, it recommended that El Salvador should, “if need be, … annul that law ex-tunc”. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Case 10.480 (El Salvador), Report, 27 January 1999, Chapter XII, § 1.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
In its judgment in the Barrios Altos case in 2001 involving the question of the legality of Peruvian amnesty laws, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights stated:
41. This Court considers that all amnesty provisions, provisions on prescription and the establishment of measures designed to eliminate responsibility are inadmissible, because they are intended to prevent the investigation and punishment of those responsible for serious human rights violations such as torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution and forced disappearance, all of them prohibited because they violate non-derogable rights recognized by international human rights law.
42. The Court, in accordance with the arguments put forward by the Commission and not contested by the State, considers that the amnesty laws adopted by Peru prevented the victims’ next of kin and the surviving victims in this case from being heard by a judge … they violated the right to judicial protection … they prevented the investigation, capture, prosecution and conviction of those responsible for the events that occurred in Barrios Altos, thus failing to comply with Article 1(1) of the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights], and they obstructed clarification of the facts of this case. Finally, the adoption of self-amnesty laws that are incompatible with the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights] meant that Peru failed to comply with the obligation to adapt internal legislation that is embodied in Article 2 of the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights].
43. The Court considers that it should be emphasized that, in the light of the general obligations established in Articles 1(1) and 2 of the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights], the States Parties are obliged to take all measures to ensure that no one is deprived of judicial protection and the exercise of the right to a simple and effective recourse, in the terms of Articles 8 and 25 of the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights]. Consequently, States Parties to the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights] which adopt laws that have the opposite effect, such as self-amnesty laws, violate Articles 8 and 25, in relation to Articles 1(1) and 2 of the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights]. Self-amnesty laws lead to the defenselessness of victims and perpetuate impunity; therefore, they are manifestly incompatible with the aims and spirit of the Convention. This type of law precludes the identification of the individuals who are responsible for human rights violations, because it obstructs the investigation and access to justice and prevents the victims and their next of kin from knowing the truth and receiving the corresponding reparation.
44. Owing to the manifest incompatibility of self-amnesty laws and the American Convention on Human Rights, the said laws lack legal effect and may not continue to obstruct the investigation of the grounds on which this case is based or the identification and punishment of those responsible, nor can they have the same or a similar impact with regard to other cases that have occurred in Peru, where the rights established in the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights] have been violated. 
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Barrios Altos case, Judgment, 14 March 2001, §§ 41–44.
In his concurring opinion, one of the judges added:
The international responsibility of the State for violations of internationally recognized human rights, – including violations which have taken place by means of the adoption and application of laws of self-amnesty, – and the individual penal responsibility of agents perpetrators of grave violations of human rights and of International Humanitarian Law, are two faces of the same coin, in the fight against atrocities, impunity, and injustice. It was necessary to wait many years to come to this conclusion, which, if it is possible today, is also due, – may I insist on a point which is very dear to me, – to the awakening of the universal juridical conscience, as the material source par excellence of International Law itself. 
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Barrios Altos case, Concurring Opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade, 14 March 2001, § 13.
[emphasis in original]
ICRC
In 1995, in a meeting of the Humanitarian Liaison Working Group on the role of mechanisms for accountability in resolving humanitarian emergencies, the issue of amnesty at the end of a conflict, in particular Article 6 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, was discussed. The ICRC noted that, given “the preparatory works and the context”, this provision could not be invoked in favour of impunity of war criminals, since it only applied to prosecution for the sole participation in hostilities. 
ICRC, Statement at the Humanitarian Liaison Working Group (HLWG), Geneva, 19 June 1995.
ICRC
In a letter from the Head of the ICRC Legal Division to the Department of Law at the University of California in 1997, the ICRC stated:
The “travaux préparatoires” of Article 6(5) [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] indicate that this provision aims at encouraging amnesty, i.e., a sort of release at the end of hostilities. It does not aim at an amnesty for those having violated international humanitarian law … Anyway States did not accept any rule in Protocol II obliging them to criminalize its violations … Conversely, one cannot either affirm that international humanitarian law absolutely excludes any amnesty including persons having committed violations of international humanitarian law, as long as the principle that those having committed grave breaches have to be either prosecuted or extradited is not voided of its substance. 
ICRC, Letter from the Head of the ICRC Legal Division to the Department of Law at the University of California and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 15 April 1997.
Amnesty International
According to Amnesty International, Article 19 of the 1993 Cotonou Agreement on Liberia providing for a general amnesty would appear to violate the obligation of States to take the necessary measures to suppress violations of IHL under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, in particular, in respect of violations of common Article 3. 
Amnesty International, Letter to the ICRC, 28 September 1993.