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Impunity ( lat . Impunitas ), impunity or immunity refers to the fact that a punishable offense goes unpunished. The term comes from the Roman legal philosophy .


A distinction is made between normative and factual impunity. Normative impunity exists if the applicable law does not allow the punishment, for example due to a loophole in the law , indemnity , an amnesty , statute of limitations or other legally effective obstacles. Factual impunity exists when an act is punishable but is still not punished, be it due to the inefficiency of the judiciary or simply because the perpetrator flees from prosecution or dies.

While the terms "impunity" find and "impunity" in the German-speaking jurisdictions application, "impunity" is (English impunity ) currently mainly in the discourse of international humanitarian law used. The UN Human Rights Commission defines impunity as

the impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing the perpetrators of violations to account - whether in criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings - since they are not subject to any inquiry that might lead to their being accused, arrested, tried and, if found guilty, sentenced to appropriate penalties, and to making reparations to their victims.

“The impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing criminals to justice, whether in criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings, as they will not be subjected to any investigation that could result in them being indicted, arrested, convicted and, if guilty, guilty be spoken to, sentenced to appropriate sentences, and compensation for their victims. "

The topos of impunity is of particular importance in the political discourse of Latin America. Impunidad (Spanish) and impunidade (Portuguese) are discussed here particularly in connection with the coming to terms with the military dictatorships ; in Germany, for example, a “ coalition against impunity in Argentina ” is active.


See also

Individual evidence

  1. United Nations Human Rights Commission: Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (E / CN.4 / 2005/102 / Add.1), February 8, 2005, p. 6.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /