n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Forgiveness and impunity in a situation of transition : a socio-political perspective

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



This investigation focuses on the question whether forgiveness in a socio-political transition should lead to impunity for perpetrators and wrongdoers of the previous dispensation. Arguing from a deontological Christian ethical paradigm, the conclusion postulates that impunity should not be an option when dealing with the crimes of the past. Impunity inhibits the core ingredients of a peaceful new dispensation, namely the sound execution of justice, reconciliation, remembrance and restitution. Instead of unconditional impunity, the court should adjudicate a process of restorative justice that entails a complaint, a verdict and the imposition of a sentence. On the imposition of a sentence, the elements of restorative justice, such as the need for restitution, should be taken into consideration.

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