On August 12, 2016, the Official Gazette of Angola published the Amnesty Law (Law No. 11/16), which was approved by the Angolan Parliament in July. The new statute was approved following the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Angola on November 11th, 2015, when a Presidential Decree (Presidential Decree No. 173/15) was made that pardoned citizens who had been convicted and given sentences of less than 12 years of imprisonment and who had already served at least 6 of those years.

The Amnesty Law extends the aforementioned pardon – without the requisite of partial fulfillment of the penalty – to common crimes punishable with penalties of up to 12 years in prison and military crimes that occurred before November 11, 2015, except for intentional crimes committed with violence that resulted in death. Other crimes not encompassed by the general rule will also benefit from a ¼ reduction in sentence, excluding individuals who have already benefited from the 2015 Presidential Decree.

Crimes involving the use of firearms, drug dealing punishable with penalties of more than 12 years in prison, human and organ trafficking, sexual crimes and crimes related to illegal immigration are also excluded from the amnesty.

Amnesty is granted under a cancellation clause which states that beneficiaries must refrain from committing crimes punishable by more than 1 year in prison for a period of 3 years after receiving amnesty. With regards to property crime, the benefits will only be granted upon compensation for damages, which must be met within 1 year. The granting of benefits does not exclude civil liability nor disciplinary actions resulting from the amnestied or pardoned facts.

It is estimated that approximately 8 thousand people, granted total amnesty or partial pardon of their convictions, will benefit from the Amnesty Law.