n African Human Rights Law Journal - The death row phenomenon and the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The article discusses how two main approaches to the death row phenomenon can be distinguished in the jurisprudence of national courts and international human rights mechanisms. The progressive approach sees a prolonged delay in the execution of the death penalty as a violation of the prohibition against inhuman or degrading treatment. The conservative approach requires further circumstances, such as the conditions on death row and that the delay in execution is not caused by the condemned prisoner himself. The author argues that the two approaches should be easier to reconcile if courts clearly defined what they mean by torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

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