Evidence obtained through violating the right to freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in South Africa

This article was published in AHRLJ Volume 15 No 1 2015. Although South African courts have expressly held that any evidence obtained through torture is always inadmissible, the author is unaware of a decision from a South African court to the effect that evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is, like evidence obtained through torture, inadmissible in all circumstances. In this article, the author first deals with the issue of evidence obtained through torture and thereafter relies on the practice of international and regional human rights bodies, such as the Committee against Torture, the Human Rights Committee, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the European Court of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and some of the sections of the South African Constitution, to argue that South Africa has an international obligation to exclude any evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In support of this argument, the author relies on the jurisprudence of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal on the nature of the right to freedom from torture and argues that the same approach could be applied to the right to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

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