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The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary edited by Haldemann, Frank; Unger, Thomas (22nd March 2018)

Part III The Right to Justice, C Restrictions on Rules of Law Justified By Action to Combat Impunity, Principle 28 Restrictions on the Effects of Legislation on Disclosure or Repentance

Christopher Gosnell

From: The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary

Edited By: Frank Haldemann, Thomas Unger

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 13 November 2019

Subject(s):
Asylum — Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

Principle 28 deals with restrictions on the effects of legislation on disclosure or repentance. According to this Principle, a person’s formal confession of a crime may, pursuant to ‘provisions of legislation on disclosure and repentance’, justify a ‘reduction of sentence’ but not ‘exempt[ion]’ from ‘criminal or other responsibility’. Such a person may be granted asylum, presumably by another State, where such a confession ‘may subject the perpetrator to persecution’. Principle 28 thus highlights the maximum benefit that may be accorded to a confession under an amnesty program: a reduction of sentence but not ‘exemption’ from responsibility altogether. However, this distinction does not reflect any established practice or norms of international law. This chapter first provides a contextual and historical background on Principle 28 before discussing its theoretical framework and how exemption from criminal responsibility in return for confession has been applied in practice.

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