Late last week the Constitutional Court issued further directions in the application by former president Jacob Zuma seeking rescission of the court’s order finding him in contempt of court and sentencing him to 15 months’ imprisonment.

Those directions asked the parties to address the question of whether the court is obliged to consider provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in interpreting provisions relating to fair trial, and their implications for Zuma’s detention. This is a little curious: after all, the constitution is explicit in requiring the court to consider international law when interpreting provisions in the Bill of Rights, so it needs no argument in that regard...

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