Top court clamps down on extradition to death-penalty countries
THE Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that any person living in South Africa accused of offences abroad cannot be extradited or deported to be tried in a country that allows the death penalty unless written assurance is provided by that country that the person will not be killed.
Emmanuel Tsebe and Jerry Phale, both accused of murder in Botswana, in 2010 applied for a South Gauteng High Court order to avoid being deported unless Botswana gave written assurance that they would not be subjected to the death penalty.
Mr Tsebe died in November 2010, before the high court granted the order.
The ministers of justice and home affairs then appealed against the decision, with the justice minister arguing that the court had not considered the rights of people other than Mr Tsebe and Mr Phale.
The Department of Home Affairs said Mr Tsebe had crossed the border illegally to enter South Africa, while Mr Phale obtained citizenship documentation fraudulently and should therefore be deported to stand trial in Botswana.
But on Friday, the Constitutional Court ruled that if South Africa could give its courts jurisdiction to try crimes committed outside the country, "there is no reason why similar legislation cannot or should not be put in place to ensure that persons in Mr Tsebe's and Mr Phale's position can be tried by the South African courts when countries in which they allegedly committed the crimes are not prepared to give the requisite assurance".
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