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Difference Between Amnesty and Pardon

Amnesty vs Pardon

Amnesty and pardon are powers bestowed on the supreme authority of a nation to give forgiveness to individuals or group of individuals who have been found guilty of some act.

When looking at the two, amnesty is absolution and forgetfulness of an offence whereas a pardon is termed as pity and forgiveness. Amnesty may be given to persons who have not faced a trial and been convicted. On the contrary, a pardon is awarded to persons who have been convicted.

When a pardon is given to only individuals, amnesty is given to a group of individuals. A pardon is only given after a judgment has been pronounced whereas amnesty is given even before the final judgment.

In pardons, the criminal record of an individual is not wiped out as the court has already convicted that person.

Amnesty has been mainly applied in political situations to address certain issues of national importance. When looking at amnesty, it can be traced to Roman and Greek laws. The first amnesty can be said to be a political amnesty during the civil wars in Athens in 403 BC. Some of the amnesties that have historical importance include Napoleon’s amnesty in 1815, the Prussian amnesty of 1840, general amnesty by United States President Andrew Johnson in 1868, and the French amnesty of 1905.

Pardons have been derived from the English system. Some of the most famous pardons include U.S. President Gerald R. Ford’s pardon of President Richard M. Nixon in the Watergate scandal (1974) and the pardon of six officials by George Bush who were involved in the Iran-Contra scam.

Summary:

1.Amnesty is absolution and forgetfulness of an offence whereas a pardon is termed as pity and forgiveness.
2.When a pardon is given to only individuals, amnesty is given to a group of individuals.
3.Amnesty may be given to persons who have not faced a trial and been convicted. On the contrary, a pardon is given to persons who have been convicted.
4.Amnesty has been mainly used as a political means to address certain issues of national importance.
5.When looking at amnesty, it can be traced to Roman and Greek laws. The first amnesty can be said to be a political amnesty during the civil wars in Athens in 403 BC. Pardons have been derived from the English system.
6.In pardons, the criminal record of an individual is not wiped out as a court has already convicted that person.


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