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Law Academic’s Paper Explores Protection of Human Rights in Judicial System

June 28, 2017

Ms Franaaz Khan.

A paper by School of Law lecturer Ms Franaaz Khan has been published in the SA Crime Quarterly (SACQ), a Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) accredited, peer reviewed journal published jointly by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Centre of Criminology at the University of Cape Town.

Khan’s research paper was motivated by a Constitutional Court decision in which Section 77 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 was challenged by two accused individuals who were unable to understand trial proceedings due to a mental illness they suffered.

The Section was found to infringe on the right to freedom and security of the accused.

Khan’s paper titled: “The Constitutionality of Orders for the Detention of Persons Unfit to Stand Trial: De Vos NO v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development”, signifies the importance of protecting an individual’s right to a fair trial. Individuals must be physically and mentally stable in order to stand trial in a court of law.

‘South Africa has become a country of democracy and constitutional rights for all. Mentally ill people are a vulnerable group in society and they face challenges on a daily basis. The judgement is commendable as it reaffirms South Africa’s constitutional commitment to protecting such vulnerable groups,’ said Khan.

The Law academic had her fair share of challenges as she was writing this paper while she was in the final stages of completing her PhD.

‘I think that for any academic, writing at times can be daunting. I suffered from writer’s block on numerous occasions and the paper had gone through many drafts. I was about to throw in the towel when the editor of the Crime Quarterly Journal contacted me enquiring about the progress I was making with regard to my paper. With encouragement offered by my colleagues I gave it a final shot,’ said Khan.

After completing her PhD in Constitutional and Educational Law, Khan aims to pursue research avenues that will further emanate from her Doctoral degree.

Sibonelo Shinga

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