Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Tony Leon supporting the death penalty? I wasn't even aware of this until Nick brought it to my attention. But I have to say that its an exceptionally stupid move. I've said this before but it bears repeating that in S v Makwanyane, the case in which the death penalty was declared unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court found that it infringes the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, and hinted very strongly that it also infringes the rights to life and dignity. In other words, for the death penalty to be reintroduced, all of these provisions would have to be amended. This, I'm sure most would agree, would set an exceptionally negative precedent. Its in all of our interests that the Bill of Rights not be tampered with. That Leon should campaign against the ANC in part on the basis that it should not be allowed to get a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to change the Constitution, while also taking a view that he knows would require constitutional change, strikes me as the height of hypocrisy.

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