Amnesty Guidelines Project

The aim of this project was to produce a set of guidelines and a related commentary setting out when, how and what forms of amnesty can be used to assist in the resolution of armed conflicts and other situations of mass human rights violations.

The Belfast Guidelines on Amnesty and Accountability were published in October 2013 and will be an important practical resource for international and national policymakers, civil society activists, and lawyers who are involved in brokering or implementing peace agreements.

They have been written by a group of international human rights and conflict resolution experts including several former truth commissioners, a UN special rapporteur and the former head of legal codification at the United Nations, as well as leading scholars and civil society activists.

The recommendations draw on a wide range of evidence including international treaties, the case law of international courts, United Nations declarations, peace agreements, national amnesty legislation and the case law of national courts.

The guidelines will be an important and useful resource for international and national policymakers and donors, civil society activists, legal professionals, and interdisciplinary scholars who work in the fields of transitional justice, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

They have been translated into Arabic, French, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish and sent to over 300 leaders in intergovernmental institutions, government departments of donor, mediator or transitional states, and to human rights and peacebuilding organisation.

Project details



Dr Louise Mallinder and Professor Tom Hadden, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster

Funding Programme:

Law in Society

Amount and Duration:


October 2011 - October 2013