IJR Press Release: Reports of pardon for De Kock

4 January 2009

Should recent media reports relating to the consideration of a presidential pardon to former Vlakplaas commander, Eugene de Kock, be accurate, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation would like to urge the President of the Republic to carefully weigh such a decision against its longer-term consequences for national unity and reconciliation.

A decision either against or for De Kock’s premature release should be informed by the national interest, and must be communicated in a way that offers greater procedural clarity than at present around the status of apartheid perpetrators that did not receive amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  It must also be subjected to proper consultation with those that have been directly affected by the deeds that have earned De Kock his sentence.

The Institute commends the President for prioritising the issue of national unity for 2010 in his New Years Address last week and hopes that he will use the pardon decision – if it is indeed being considered – to provide a more concrete articulation of government’s thinking relating to the achievement of national reconciliation, as well as its action plan to get citizens more involved in such processes.

For further information, please contact the Institute on (+27) 021 763 7128.

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