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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law [MPECCoL]

Pardon Power

Andrew Novak

Subject(s):
Pardon power — Executive power — Amnesty

Published under the direction of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law.
General Editors: Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann, Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1. The pardon power (or, the power to pardon) refers to the executive power to alter, cancel, or substitute a criminal sentence or punishment outside of the judicial branch. This power is also frequently referred to as executive clemency. The pardon power is most commonly exercised by a head of state, but it may also be exercised by or with the consultation of a government minister, a cabinet, a specially-appointed committee, or a legislature. 2. A pardon completely exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he...
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