n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Sentencing in Namibia : the main changes since independence

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



Until its independence in 1990, Namibia shared the South African criminal justice system. Today, it retains the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 as main means of regulating the criminal justice system. This Act is diverging from the South African version, as it was "frozen" at independence, and has subsequently been amended by the Namibian parliament. Considerable other changes have also been effected. This article investigates the extent to which these changes have contributed to any meaningful differences in practice in Namibia since independence. It finds that the two most substantial developments have been the increase in lengths of prison sentences, and the utilisation of minimum sentences prescribed in legislation. The article concludes that the very long sentences are unlikely to have any positive effect on the Namibian criminal justice system. On the other hand, the way in which the constitutionality of disproportionate minimum sentences is dealt with by the Namibian courts has considerable value for future South African developments.

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