Reconciliatory Justice: Amnesties, Indemnities and Prosecutions in South Africa’s Transition

This report was written with the intention of providing information and enhancing the debate around accountability processes, and in particular further prosecutions in South Africa. The report begins with an overview of the international obligations around holding perpetrators accountable within post-conflict societies. This overview also includes a description of attempts in Argentina and Chile to pursue prosecutions in conjunction with (or following upon) a truth commission. The next section of the report focuses specifically on South Africa, and consolidates the information on indemnities, amnesties and prosecutions from the 1990s to present. A legal analysis of the amended prosecution guidelines, passed in 2005 is then provided. This analysis is provided in that it is deemed as a policy which has, and will continue to, affect prosecutions for “conflicts of the past.” The report then continues with a case study of the Highgate Massacre of 1993, which explores the opportunities and challenges for further investigations and prosecutions. Finally, some concluding remarks are made which highlights some of the key points outlined through the report.