President Nelson Mandela's new government announced plans Tuesday to grant amnesty for political crimes, but only with a full confession.
The proposals would fulfill a campaign promise by Mandela to confront murder, torture, terrorist bombings and other crimes from the apartheid era in a bid for racial reconciliation.Justice Minister Dullah Omar told reporters the purpose was to make a "clean break" with the past and create "a culture of human rights."
He refused to discuss specific cases but said the cutoff date for political crimes eligible for amnesty would be Dec. 6, 1993.
That means the killers of top African National Congress and Communist Party leader Chris Hani and American student Amy Biehl could be eligible. White extremists accused of bombings that killed 21 people this year in a bid to derail April's all-race election, the nation's first, would not be eligible.
But Omar said Mandela, as president, retains the power to deal with individual cases as he sees fit. That would permit him to grant amnesty to the white extremists, as demanded by pro-apartheid whites negotiating with the government on creating a white-dominated territory.
Mandela's ANC won the April vote, making him the nation's first black president.