Report no.23: The abolition of death penalty in South Africa

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa was set up under the Interim Constitution (1993). In 1995, in its very first judgement, the Court dealt with the highly sensitive issue of constitutionality of capital punishment. In the Makwanyane Case (State v. T. Makwanyane and M. Mchunu), the Constitutional Court unanimously found the capital punishment to be inconsistent with the Constitution. In individual opinions each one of the eleven judges of the Court argued for the abolishment of the death penalty.
This important case has a bearing far beyond the South African context. In order to promote the dissemination of this judgement, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute has asked Judge Agneta Lindelöf to write a summary of the Makwanyane Case. In introductory remarks, Prof. Johan van der Westhuizen has outlined the constitutional background to the case.

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