Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal/Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

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Twenty years of constitutional court judgments: What lessons are there about sentencing?

Stephan S. Terblanche


This contribution considers the Constitutional Court of South Africa’s judgments regarding  spects of sentencing. It starts with an overview of relevant judgments, before attending in more detail to judgments on the minimum sentences legislation and on sentencing when it affects children. On this foundation, the article then discusses the human rights that are affected by the imposition of sentences on offenders, before attempting to identify what the next instalment of Constitutional Court judgments might bring to the sentencing table.

This article offers a collection and collation of judgments that share one common element, namely that they have something to say about an aspect of sentencing. The value of such an approach is that it provides the first step to answering the following question: The  constitutional Court has been active for 20 years; what do we learn about sentencing from its judgments during this time?

Keywords: Sentencing; criminal sentences in South Africa; cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment; dignity and sentencing; Constitutional Court
AJOL African Journals Online