Beyond Legalism: Amnesties, Transition and Conflict Transformation

Project start date: 2007-04 Project end date: 2009-10
Amnesty laws are an important but often contentious way for states to quell dissent, end conflict or shield state agents from prosecution. This project aims to move beyond legalistic debates to produce an analysis of the consequences of enacting amnesty laws during transitional periods, based on fieldwork in five jurisdictions worldwide. The website contains the Amnesty Law Database comprising materials relating to over 500 amnesty laws enacted since the end of World War Two. This database is freely available to all users, who are encouraged to provide further information to enhance the profiles of the amnesty laws. The website also contains brief descriptions of the jurisdictions visited and detailed reports charting the history of amnesty laws and related clemency measures in each of the case study jurisdictions and extensive bibliographies of literature on amnesty laws and transitional justice in general, as well as specific bibliographies for each case study jurisdiction.
Subject domains: 
Era(s): 
Methods usedCategory
Manual input and transcriptionData capture
Record linkagesData structuring and enhancement
Funding sources: 
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Content types created: 
Software tools used: 
  • Javascript
Source material used:  
Data on amnesty laws that have been introduced since the end of the Second World War and which relate to violent political crises. These can include civil unrest, military coups, international or internal conflict, authoritarian government, or states that are transitioning from such crises. A wide-range of documentary sources have been used to compile the information within the Amnesty Law Database and to identify the categorisations employed. These sources include: • Domestic legislation • Academic writing • Jurisprudence from national and international courts • International treaties • Opinions given by treaty-monitoring bodies • Statements by intergovernmental organisations • Reports by states (particularly Country Reports on Human Rights Practices from the US Department of State) • Reports by NGOs (particularly Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch) • Newspaper articles
Digital resource created:  
The website contains the Amnesty Law Database comprising materials relating to over 500 amnesty laws enacted since the end of World War Two. As of October 2009, the database contains information on 506 amnesty laws in 138 countries that were introduced between 1945 and January 2008. For each amnesty process, where possible, the database contains information on why the amnesty was introduced, how it was enacted, what its effects were, how it was implemented, what crimes it covered, whom it benefited, and whether it related to other forms of transitional justice.
Access to digital resource:  
Open Access
Publications:  
For a list of project publications see:
http://www.law.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofLaw/Research/InstituteofCriminologyandCriminalJustice/Research/BeyondLegalism/Publications/

Institutions affiliated with this project: 

UK HE institutions involved:
Queen's University Belfast

Project staff and expertise: 

Principal staff member:Professor K McEvoy
Other staff:
External expertise:


Metadata on this arts-humanities.net record
Author(s) of recordkieran mcevoy
TitleBeyond Legalism: Amnesties, Transition and Conflict Transformation
Record created2010-09-29
Record updated2011-05-09 14:02
URL of recordhttp://www.arts-humanities.net/node/3591
Citation of recordkieran mcevoy: Beyond Legalism: Amnesties, Transition and Conflict Transformation. <http://www.arts-humanities.net/node/3591> created: 2010-09-29, last updated 2011-05-09 14:02
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