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Former South Africa president denies knowledge of apartheid atrocities

[JURIST] Former South Africa President F.W. de Klerk [official profile] on Thursday denied having knowledge of or participating in crimes against opposition members [press release, DOC] while he was in office during the apartheid era, adding that South Africa should "look at the future" and refrain from engaging "persecution and retribution." De Clerk, who has refused to apply for amnesty with South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [official website], made the remarks during a press conference responding to media reports that de Clerk may be indicted for apartheid-era crimes using evidence obtained through a possible plea bargain [SABCnews report] between the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and former Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok. Vlok is currently facing attempted murder charges for the poisoning of then-opposition member and current Director-General in the President's office Frank Chikane. Vlok's trial is expected to begin August 17.

De Klerk also reiterated that amnesty for apartheid-era atrocities were a "necklacing" murders [Wikipedia backgrounder], and accused the government of paying little attention to the atrocities committed by anti-apartheid groups. The TRC is authorized to grant amnesty to South Africans who confess and demonstrate remorse for crimes committed during the apartheid era. AP has more.

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