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The use of amnesties for corruption offences

The use of amnesties – whether for human rights abuses or corruption – is a politically controversial measure that is often perceived as fueling impunity and undermining the rule of law. Amnesties are predominantly used for human right abuses in post-conflict contexts to foster stability and ensure a non-violent political transition. Although there have been recent examples in countries such as Tunisia, Moldova and Romania, using amnesties for economic crimes and corruption is exceptional, politically sensitive and usually met with massive resistance.

6 June 2019
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Main points

  • The use of amnesties is a politically controversial measure, which is primarily considered for human rights abuses in the sensitive context of political transition or regime change.
  • The use of amnesties for economic crimes, such as corruption is exceptional, politically sensitive and usually met with massive resistance in most countries.
  • There have been recent controversial examples of countries granting amnesties for corruption in Tunisia, Moldova, Romania, Nigeria among others.
  • A number of conditions and safeguards need to be considered when using amnesties to balance accountability.

Cite this publication

Chêne, M.; (2019) The use of amnesties for corruption offences. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2019:16)

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Marie Chêne


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

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