n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Some procedural issues relating to post-TRC prosecutions of human rights offenders

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



The concept of amnesty is new in South African law, and some of the implications of this are considered with regard to the discretionary decision to prosecute human rights offenders who either did not apply for an amnesty for human rights abuses, or who applied and were refused. One of these implications is the admissibility of proceedings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in subsequent criminal trials of such persons. Accordingly, the legal effects of amnesty proceedings under the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, 1995 are considered, and the extent to which the rule in <I>Hollington v Hewthorn & Co Ltd&lt;/I&gt; would apply to findings by the TRC. The conclusion is reached that this rule is now of limited or no application, and that the record of findings by the TRC may accordingly constitute important incriminating evidence which is available to a criminal court hearing cases arising from human rights violations. The availability of this evidence will affect the exercise of the discretion to prosecute.

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