NI: Public database of amnesties launched by Belfast and Edinburgh academics

NI: Public database of amnesties launched by Belfast and Edinburgh academics

Professor Louise Mallinder

Researchers have launched a comprehensive public database exploring amnesties granted during ongoing conflicts, as part of peace negotiations, or in post-conflict periods for the first time.

The Amnesties, Conflict and Peace Agreement (ACPA) dataset contains detailed information on 289 amnesties introduced from January 1990 to September 2016 in all world regions.

The government-funded project brings together the research of lead academic Professor Louise Mallinder from Queen’s University Belfast School of Law and the technologies of the University of Edinburgh’s Political Settlement Research Programme.

“The use of amnesties is often highly controversial, particularly where amnesties are granted to war criminals or those responsible for serious human rights violations,” said Professor Mallinder.

“This is a live issue in many parts of the world today, with amnesties under consideration in the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Thailand, and in Afghanistan, where a peace agreement was reached between the US and the Taliban in February 2020 and direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to begin.”

Professor Christine Bell, professor of constitutional law at the University of Edinburgh, added: “The question of amnesty is often one of the big stumbling blocks to a peace agreement. By making amnesty processes fully searchable, and providing strong analysis on how to craft amnesties through Professor Mallinder’s report, we hope that actors in conflict will be better able to find creative solutions for moving the peace process forward, that avoid impunity.”

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