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CARROTS AND STICKS (article first published : 2005-03-24)

Carrots and Sticks: The TRC and the South African Amnesty Process is a new book by Jeremy Sarkin soon to be launched by Adams Campus Bookshop , University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The book examines the amnesty application numbers – the number of ‘legitimate’ applications, the spread across political affiliation, the number of female applicants, and who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. It looks at the extent to which the indemnity process that occurred between 1990 and 1995 undermined the ‘carrot’ of amnesty, whether the criminal justice system offered a sufficient ‘stick’ to coax potential applicants into the process, and how the timing of events and attitudes of political parties influenced applications.

Many of the most well-known cases are investigated: the Cradock Four, The Pebco Three, the St.James Church, Bisho, Boipatong, the killing of Amy Biehl, Chris Hani, Steve Biko, the Motherwell, Magoo’s Bar, Ellis Park, Church Street and Wimpy bombings, the applications of Craig Williamson, Trevor Tutu, Eugene de Kock and Jeffrey Benzien, the collective applications of the ANC 37 and APLA leaders, the Jerry Richardson case involving Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and amnesty cases stemming from the Magnus Malan trial. The content of many of the amnesty decisions are investigated to see how the Amnesty Committee applied the amnesty law and whether the decisions were fair and consistent.

The subject of the final chapter is what happens next. Will those who were refused amnesty, or who did not apply, be prosecuted? A few significant themes or debates permeate the text; the extent to which the TRC was victim-centered or perpetrator-friendly; the extent to which the TRC and the amnesty process in particular, contributed to the discovery of ‘sufficient’ truth, a prerequisite for reconciliation; and the extent to which the TRC and its amnesty process actively attempted to facilitate national unity and reconciliation .

The Administration of Justice: current themes in comparative perspective shows that admin of justice is a subject that can benefit greatly from a comparative perspective. It is not static, being constantly reshaped by social, economic, cultural and philosophical influences. New concepts, strategies and solutions may be found outside one’s own legal system. Some of these travel well and thrive when transplanted; others are so distinctly connected to their particular system that they can never flourish on a foreign soil. Irish and South African judges, legal practitioners, and academics have been engaging in a process of dialogue in recent years at the initiative of the Law Faculty of the University of the Western Cape and the Law School of Trinity College, Dublin.

South African contributors include Jeremy Sarkin on the length of service of Constitutional judges, Estelle Feldman on the false hope of an independent judiciary, Mahomed Navsa on legal aid, Neil Boister on penal norms, Esther Steyn on undue delay in criminal cases, Christof Heyns on the role of the future African Human Rights Court, J.M.Hlophe on the promotion of the admin of justice.

Jeremy Sarkin is a Senior Professor of Law at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town. He has an undergraduate and postgraduate law degree from the University of Natal (Durban), a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School, and a Doctor in Laws degree from the University of the Western Cape. He is an admitted attorney in South Africa and in the State of New York. He has worked on constitutional and transitional issues in various countries, including Rwanda, the DRC, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Angola, Namibia and Burma. He serves on a number of editorial boards including the Human Rights Quarterly. He served as an acting judge in 2002 and 2003 in the Cape High Court.




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