n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - International co-operation in criminal matters : the South African contribution

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



The growing number of international and regional multilateral initiatives directed at combating notorious cross-border crime and organised criminality signifies the reliance of the international community on states and their domestic law regimes to co-operate in international endeavours in promoting criminal justice commensurate to the task. Mutual legal assistance is a new field of law that transcends the traditional territorialism which limited co-operation to extradition and related informal assistance. Prior to 1996 mutual assistance was known to South Africa but was undeveloped. Gauging South Africa's contribution requires acquaintance with the main features and concepts of today's international mutual legal assistance. Against that background it becomes possible to assess the developments in the country's law and practice as symbolised by the adoption of the International Co-operation in Criminal Matters Act 75 of 1996, but not restricted thereto. The assessment reveals that the Republic's contribution is substantial if the legislative framework as enhanced by its treaty-making initiatives are considered. As with any process of growth there are aspects requiring attention, some legislative and regulatory but mainly in the area of role-player co-ordination and administrative arrangements.

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