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Scholars often consider amnesty and pardon to be universal and timeless phenomena. Whatever the characteristics of a legal system, the relative adherence to law, and the form of political regime, amnesty and pardon appear unchangeable practices. Amnesty is a law or prerogative that permits an official to declare forbearance for acts that would otherwise constitute a crime. In essence, it suggests that a crime has not occurred or it frees a class of suspects from all the consequences of criminal punishment. A pardon is a decision of the executive power that effaces some or all of the consequence of a crime, especially the execution of the sentence.

However, in reality the remission of sentences and punishments is not at all universal, because in the more interesting ...

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