Intermediaries and the International Obligation to Protect Child Witnesses in South Africa

30 Pages Posted: 7 May 2018

See all articles by Rongedzayi Fambasayi

Rongedzayi Fambasayi

Great Zimbabwe University

René Koraan

North-West University

Date Written: April 3, 2018


This contribution examines the protection of child witnesses in criminal proceedings under international and regional laws. This consideration is made against the background that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 proclaims in section 39(1)(b) that in interpreting the Bill of Rights and any legislation a court or tribunal must consider international law. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990) and the United Nations Guidelines on Justice for Child Victims and Witnesses to Crime (2005) do not make specific reference to child witnesses and how they should be treated. However, it is argued that the guiding principles enshrined therein provide for the protection of child witnesses, particularly the best interests of the child and the right to participate. In addition, the article enumerates and explains the rights of child witnesses as provided for in the UN Guidelines. International law will be discussed first, and then South African law, to establish if the international obligation to protect child witnesses is being adhered to.

Keywords: child witnesses; criminal proceedings; intermediary

Suggested Citation

Fambasayi, Rongedzayi and Koraan, René, Intermediaries and the International Obligation to Protect Child Witnesses in South Africa (April 3, 2018). Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, Vol. 21, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Rongedzayi Fambasayi

Great Zimbabwe University ( email )

P. O. Box 1235
Masvingo, Masvingo 00263

René Koraan (Contact Author)

North-West University ( email )

Private Bag X6001
Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Potchefstroom, Northwest 2520
South Africa

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