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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 9. 1969.

S.A.—Jurists' Report

S.A.—Jurists' Report

Continued From P. 1

tional Commission of Jurists has constantly been saying: that in areas where racial discrimination is the basis of society and is supported by otherwise formally valid laws, the legislation ceases to be based on justice. Discriminatory laws both in principle and in practice lead inevitably to the erosion, one after the other, of the elements of the "Rule of Law".

An unjust and discriminatory social order inevitably arouses opposition; stern measures are then taken to deal with all opposition and to maintain by force the social order which has engendered the opposition. The opposition is then driven underground and to violence. Thus a policy of racial, or religious, discrimination ultimmately results in the destruction o fall legal safeguards, including those which are not directly related to discriminatory laws.

Sir Richard Wild

Sir Richard Wild

Perhaps the most tragic aspect that is brought out by the report is the overall impression that when the judiciary has come to apply the legislation it has—in so many of the cases cited—shown itself as "establishment-minded" as the executive, preferring to adopt an interpretation of the law that will facilitate the executive's racialist policy rather than to defend the liberty of the subject and uphold the "Rule of Law".

The new publication reproduces the report of the observer, Professor Richard A. Falk, whom the commission setn to Pretoria in 1967 to attend the Terrorism Trial, in which 19 South West Africans were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Lawyers from all over the world protested against this trial. Under international law the court had no jurisdiction to try the accused, since South Africa's mandate to administer South West Africa had already been revoked by the General Assembly. Moreover the accused were tried under the repugnant provisions of the Terrorism Act.

"I am satisfied that the rule of law is being upheld in South Africa." — Reported statement by Sir Richard.

The Pretoria trial is a striking example of the limited extent to which a trial, however fair in itself, protects the individual in a state where other aspects of the "Rule of Law" are neglected or overridden. It is therefore of the utmost concern that other persons are being held in detention under the Terrorism Act and are, it appears, shortly to be subjected to a similar trial.