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Amnesty Database Project


Amnesties have been vital to including armed combatants in peace negotiations and in emergent political and security institutions. They perform political settlement functions of elite inclusion, continuity and stability. However, international norms are now argued to preclude certain forms of amnesty. This project involves a compilation of all amnesties in situations of conflict, from 1990 until 2016, which traces when and how the amnesty occurred and its relationship to the peace process and agreements.  It provides empirical data from which to consider how amnesties enacted during conflict contribute to political negotiations, and the consequences of international prohibition of amnesty as a tool to try to influence and shape which elites are included in the political settlement bargaining process. Lastly, it assesses the relationship between amnesties, inclusion of armed actors, and international norms.


This project updates and revises Mallinder’s Amnesty Law Database to contain over 540 amnesties in over 130 countries from 1945-2011, to provide a sub-set of data for amnesty processes enacted during or after conflict. This sub-set of data will be analysed to understand the relationship of amnesty to inclusion, and to the political settlement that results.


Amnesties and debates over a ‘Justice v Peace’ trade-off play-out a version of the ‘Stabile Elite v Participative and Inclusive’ dilemma. By providing empirical data on amnesties and peace agreements, this project enables a scientific assessment of how trade-offs between elite deals, and pressures for more normative settlement terms play-out in this area. It provides new information on how peace processes facilitate forms of inclusion and exclusion through the use of amnesties, and also contributes to understanding the relationship of international norms to political bargaining processes; an inquiry that runs across different themes.


Louise Mallinder (Transitional Justice Institute)

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Photo: AK Rockefeller, Naturalflow, and United Nations Photos – all from Creative Commons

Details :
  • Author : Harriet Cornell
  • Category : Comparative, Peace Processes, Success and Failure
  • Date : June 29, 2015
  • Tags : Amnesty Armed Actors Impunity