Policy Brief: Pardons

ICTJ; Carolyn Patty Blum
Download document

Recent speculation indicates that U.S. President George W. Bush may grant pardons to administration officials and members of the military who might face prosecution for authorizing, ordering, endorsing, justifying or committing acts pursuant to the “war on terror.” While a pardon application process exists within the Department of Justice, the president is free to issue pardons without regard to the process and for any reason, including a desire to shield members of his administration and the military from investigations. Even if a pardon, in some sense, is an admission of guilt, President Bush may gauge that it is worthwhile to protect officials and members of the military.