Rape as Torture: Is South Africa in Breach of its International Obligations?

Master Thesis


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Rape is one of the most heinous and degrading crimes that exist. It attacks the victim's sense of human dignity and self-worth. Some argue that the crime of rape is akin to that of torture. The issue of rape is one that is experienced around the world; however, South Africa is one of the highest countries affected. This paper argues that South Africa is in contravention of its international obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, specifically with regards to the crime of rape and its relation to the crime of torture. This paper aims to prove the above statement through, first establishing a link between the crimes of rape and torture and that that this link is applicable in both international law and South African law. This paper will proceed to show that there are obligations, stemming from both international and domestic laws, on South Africa to take positive steps in preventing the crime of rape among private persons. This paper will demonstrate that through failing its obligation of due diligence in this regard, the state of South Africa fails to comply with the duties imposed upon it by international law.