The amnesty is a legal act which constitutes the legal oblivion of crimes and the consequent extinction of responsibility of the authors. The word, as such, comes from the Greek ἀμνηστία (amnestia), which means ‘forgetfulness’.
In this sense, the amnesty means that those who had been convicted of a crime become innocent, because the crime they had been accused of has disappeared and, with it, the responsibility to comply with the previously established penalty.
Thus, the amnesty also has retroactive effects, which supposes the extinction not only of the criminal responsibility, but also of the criminal record of all the people who were accused of the crime in question.
Hence, the amnesty also implies the need to establish a new value judgment around the advisability of establishing penalties or penalties for certain actions and behaviors.
As such, the only power authorized to establish an amnesty is the legislature, by creating an amnesty law. These types of laws are mostly frequent at times of transition between political regimes, and are mainly associated with the forgiveness of political crimes.
A tax or tax amnesty is called one in which the State offers a certain group of taxpayers, for a limited time, the possibility of paying a certain amount, in exchange for the cancellation of a tax debt, belonging to previous fiscal periods, and without fear of criminal prosecution. As such, this procedure is usually applied to regularize the fiscal situation in a country and repatriate hidden assets in tax havens.
Amnesty International, also known by its acronym AI, is a global organization dedicated to promoting respect for human rights in more than 150 countries around the world and has approximately three million members and supporters. As such, its fundamental objective is to denounce human rights abuses and protect and support victims.
Differences between amnesty and pardon
The pardon is the administrative act by means of which a person is totally or partially forgiven a penalty, or is commuted to a more benign one. The amnesty, however, acts on the crime itself, extinguishing the legal responsibility of the perpetrators of a crime. In this way, the amnesty affects a group of people, while the pardon is applied individually. In this sense, the pardon is the forgiveness of the penalty, while the amnesty acts on the crime. Thus, the amnesty extinguishes the civil responsibility derived from the crime, something that does not occur in the pardon. On the other hand, the pardon involves an administrative action for which only the head of state is empowered, while the amnesty can only be established by the legislative branch.