Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
South Africa’s Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act (2013) states:
Acts constituting torture
3. For purposes of this Act, “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person–
(a) for such purposes as to–
(i) obtain information or a confession from him or her or any other person;
(ii) punish him or her for an act he or she or any other person has committed, is suspected of having committed or is planning to commit; or
(iii) intimidate or coerce him or her or any other person to do, or to refrain from doing, anything; or
(b) for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of, or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity, but does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
Offences and penalties
(4) No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, including but not limited to, a state of war, threat of war, internal political instability, national security or any state of emergency may be invoked as a justification of torture.
In its judgment in the Mohamed case in 2001, the Constitutional Court of South Africa stated: “South African law considers a sentence of death to be cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”.