|Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.|
The Right to Life--the Case of Post-Apartheid South Africa
In the landmark 1995 case of State v. Makwanyane, 1995(3) South Africa Law Reports 391, the South African Constitutional Court unanimously invalidated the death penalty as a violation of the interim South African Constitution of 1993, although the Constitution did not expressly deal with this issue. The President of the Court, Justice Arthur Chaskalson, held in his opinion that the death penalty violates the constitutional prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. Each Justice wrote an opinion with different emphases, and some of these opinions relied directly on the constitutional guarantee of the right to life. Justice Mahomed, for example, asked the question (at 269):
"Does the right to life guaranteed by section 9 include the right of every person not to be deliberately killed by the State, through a systematically planned act of execution sanctioned by the State as a mode of punishment and performed by an executioner remunerated for this purpose from public funds?"
The Right to Liberty and Security of Person
As already discussed, the right(s) to liberty and security of person in Article 3 have become part of the bedrock of modern international human rights law. For specific famous applications and cases, you should refer to Articles 4 to 11 of the Universal Declaration. To gain a sense of the broad application of this right in countries such as Canada, India and Zimbabwe, have a look at the following website:
Peter Danchin, Columbia University