Signing of Cooperative Agreements by South Africa with countries that enforce capital punishment

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 489 (CW597E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 25-2012 OF7 SEPTEMBER 2012

MR D JOSEPH (DA - WC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

Whether South Africa will continue to sign cooperative agreements with countries that still enforce capital punishment; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, why?

REPLY:

While the death penalty is contrary to South African law, as determined by the Constitutional Court in S v Makwanyane in 1995, there is no blanket prohibition of capital punishment under international law.  The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, has to date been ratified or acceded to by 75 States, including South Africa.

South Africa maintains diplomatic relations with a number of States that still enforce capital punishment, including the United States of America, China and Botswana.  South Africa has signed a number of cooperative agreements with such countries, and will continue to do so, guided by South Africa’s foreign policy, domestic priorities and the nature of the agreement.

The international agreements that South Africa enters into with these countries relate to a variety of different areas, unrelated to the death penalty.  Whether or not a country enforces capital punishment may play a role with regard to extradition agreements. In line with its domestic and international legal obligations, South Africa does not extradite persons who may face the death penalty in the country where they are extradited to.

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