The essay reflects on the politics and politicization of pardons in post-conflict, post-revolutionary contexts. Drawing from immediate post-revolutionary moments in 1979 Iran and 2021 Afghanistan, Osanloo explores how pardons can be mobilized both to assert and legitimize power. As the same time, in a post-conflict setting, pardons can provide some recourse to justice for parties that have experienced loss and offer a possible path to broad societal reconciliation. The use of pardons, even in post-conflict dispute resolutions, however, may highlight power imbalances. In such contexts, the refusal to request a pardon by seemingly weaker parties may itself be a show of force, a righteous resolve to resist power and refuse legitimation.
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