Monday, October 20

Norman Geras discusses the morality of amnesty. (via Gideon, who I learn was an interpreter at the TRC and who's opinion I still would like to hear on this).

Mr Geras comes to the conclusion firstly the government cannot forgive the perpetrator of the crime on behalf of the victim. He also argues that more stringent requirements need to be layed down. That Amnesty must still be seen as a burden, even if much easier then the punishment for the crime would have been.

I haven't thought about the amnesty process for a while. I was very angry at the time that so many political criminals could walk away for the things they did. On both sides, but especially in the police.

To let things go, to wipe the slate clean, to forgive, to forget. How can anyone ever forgive on command? The Truth and Reconciliation Commision. The TRC. Truth, Yes. But Reconciliation? Who was this reconciliation between? Between the criminals and their victims, or the politicians and their soldiers on both sides?

No, this was not a reconciliation. The TRC was a Peace commission. For the new South Africa to become a reality, both sides needed to have their killers forgiven. Their leaders cleared of responsibility for what they allowed. Justice for the victims of apartheid South Africa was traded in return for our peace.

Update: Norman Geras responds.