The peace process between the Colombian government and the Colombian guerrillas provides a case study to examine the operation of a forgiveness law under international law. In 2012, the Colombian Congress passed a legal framework for peace, which essentially provided amnesty for those accused of international crimes. While amnesty trades justice for peace, the forgiveness law proposal for Colombia would secure justice and peace together. Unlike amnesty, the forgiveness law proposal is lawful under international law, for it guarantees prosecution of international crimes, discovery of the truth, a fair trial, adjudication of individual criminal responsibility, redress for victims, guarantees of non-repetition, and mercy for perpetrators. Under the proposal, victims—through a forgiveness and reconciliation commission—actively participate in the legal proceedings that lead to the granting of a pardon because the act of forgiveness is an individual prerogative that only victims enjoy.
Juan C. Portilla,
A Forgiveness Law: The Path to Solve the Peace Versus Justice Dilemma,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.