Justice and the Prosecution of Old Crimes: Balancing Legal, Psychological, and Moral Concerns
This thought-provoking volume asks how we as individuals and as a society ought to deal with crimes committed in the distant past. Whether such crimes have targeted individuals, such as sexual abuse victims, or groups, such as war crime victims, the authors convincingly argue that key commonalties must be considered to assure just action. To reveal commonalties, the authors explore the philosophical basis for punishment, the accuracy of old memories, the impact of delayed prosecution on victims, the role of statutes of limitations in constraining prosecution, and the rationale for pardon and amnesty.
Agency and responsibility on the part of the wrongdoer are carefully weighed against forgiveness and mercy on the part of the victim. Concrete examples drawn from domestic and international law expose various psychological, moral, and legal concerns that must be balanced in the ultimate decision to prosecute or forgive past injustices.