How Amnesty Works

The amnesty applies to the crime itself. Once a criminal has received amnesty, their crime is forgiven. It means a criminally guilty person is innocent because the crime they were accused of has legally disappeared. With amnesty, the idea of serving the previously established penalty is forgotten.

Example of Amnesty

Amnesty applies to all crimes. The law can apply it to crimes such as abortion, drug dealing, simple theft without violence, treason, etc.

Let's assume the law accuses a poor carpenter named Mr. Ken of low-level drug dealing. The court can protect and forgive him, knowing he is financially challenged which could have lured him to the act. In another instance, let’s say Mr. Taylor steals Mr. Steven’s property to save his life; the law can forgive Mr. Taylor if they so choose. In either case, the government pardons it, and neither Mr. Ken or Mr. Taylor are punished.

Significance of Amnesty

These is a huge amount of significance of amnesty for criminals. It focuses on improving the lives of the people at stake by drawing attention to the abuse of human rights, which is the practice of amnesty's primary concern.

Amnesty also campaigns for participation with the international laws and standards. It works to mobilize popular opinion to get pressure on governments where abuse takes place. Amnesty also helps resolve issues involving armed conflict, disappearances, justice, sexual abuse, reproductive freedom, and torture.

Types of Amnesty

The most common amnesties are tax amnesty and Amnesty International.

A tax or fiscal amnesty is an amnesty in which the state offers a particular group of taxpayers, for a limited time, the chance of paying a particular amount in exchange for the forgiveness of tax debt belonging to previous fiscal periods without the worry of prosecution. This procedure is usually applied to regularize the tax situation in a country and repatriate assets hidden in tax havens.

International Amnesty, or Amnesty International (AI), is a world organization dedicated to promoting respect for human rights in more than 150 countries around the world and has approximately three million members and supporters. As such, its fundamental objective is to show human rights abuses and to guard and support victims.

Pardon vs. Amnesty

A pardon is an administrative act wherein the state forgives a penalty completely or paritally. A pardon extinguishes criminal responsibility, but the perpetrator of the crime still remains guilty; the pardon only forgives the fulfilment of the sentence or penalty. Additionally, a pardon is an administrative action that only the head of the state can use, while only legislative power can establish amnesty.

On the other hand, amnesty acts on the crime itself, extinguishing the obligation of the perpetrators of a criminal offence. Amnesty affects a group of individuals, while a pardon is applied individually.

History of Amnesty

The word amnesty traces from the Greek word "amnesia" or "amnesis," which implies forgetfulness, oblivion, or lost memory. The first amnesty was a political amnesty during the civil wars in Athens in 403 BC. IAmnesty was based on the principle of tabula rasa. It was an act of supreme power meant for past offences, commonly perpetrated against the state or country.