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Provoking the dragon on the patio - Matters of transitional justice: penal repression vs. amnesties

30-06-2006 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 862, by Laura M. Olson

This article seeks to address some of the various matters related to transitional justice and focuses on whether penal repression for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be insisted upon in all situations, or if there are cases where other action, in particular amnesties, would be more appropriate to ensure national reconciliation or the peaceful development of a country.

   

Laura M. Olson
 
J.D., LL.M., is currently the legal advisor to the ICRC Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada. Previously, within the ICRC, she held the positions of legal advisor at the ICRC headquarters in Geneva and was the delegate responsible for the program to academic circles and universities at the ICRC Moscow Regional Delegation  
Abstract 
This article modestly seeks to address some of the various matters related to transitional justice and focuses on whether penal repression for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be insisted upon in all situations, or if there are cases where other action, in particular amnesties, would be more appropriate to ensure national reconciliation or the peaceful development of a country. Dilemmas clearly exist in responding to such choices, calling for the ability to maintain a judicious balancing act between competing important interests, including the most basic decision of whether or not to provoke the dragon on the patio.  

   
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