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Pardon, a resource to pardon sentences, but not to exonerate guilt

A pardon is an exceptional measure of grace, in which a penalty is erased for various circumstances, but without this action implying the discharge of moral responsibility for the crime. In this sense, it differs from amnesty because the latter implies the complete forgiveness of the established penalty. The pardon establishes the forgiveness of the fulfillment of the punishment although the individual continues to consider himself guilty for what happened.

The concept of pardon

The pardon may be total when all the penalties imposed are releasedA pardon is partial when only some of the punishments received are eliminated. In order to grant a pardon it is necessary to comply with an administrative act and follow a legal process. In Venezuela, pardon is established as a presidential power, delimited in Article 239 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.  

There can be several reasons why a pardon is submitted for considerationAmong them, the most commonly used are the physical or health condition of the person serving the sentence and the desire to call for social reconciliation after military conflicts. In 2017, the former Peruvian president, Alberto Fujimori, received a pardon for humanitarian reasons, after the medical report of the accused for corruption cases and for the events that took place in Barrios and La Cantuta, where 25 people lost their lives, was made public. However, months later, inquiries about his health situation were opened again and the Peruvian Judicial Power decided to annul the pardon granted, opening the debate about the use of this figure in the Latin American region.

Pardons that have marked the history of Latin America

The case of the pardon of the former Peruvian president is undoubtedly one of the most famous in the region. The Peruvian society was divided into two sectors after the two events that occurred with the humanitarian pardon to Fujimori. Peruvian society was divided into two sectors after the two events that occurred with the humanitarian pardon of Fujimori. In Latin America there have also been other relevant cases that have brought this administrative-legal figure to the public's attention.

  • In 1992, former Venezuelan president Rafael CalderaHugo Chávez Frías, who had led a military coup d'état against the administration of former President Carlos Andrés Pérez.
  • In 1990, former Argentine President Carlos Menemsigned the pardon for Rafael Videla, the de facto president sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. However, in 2017 the Argentine justice reactivated the sentences imposed for his participation in the so-called Fight against Terrorism during the National Reorganization Process, making strong criticism of the Full Stop laws.

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