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Last Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Retrial for SA's 'Doctor Death'
Dr Wouter Basson
An appeal court refused to overturn his acquittal
The Constitutional Court in South Africa has ruled that a high profile apartheid-era criminal case against the man dubbed "Dr Death" can be reopened.

The court said ex-biological weapons head Wouter Basson, should face trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

Mr Basson has been accused of being involved in a number of plots to poison anti-apartheid activists, including Nelson Mandela, using deadly bacteria.

However, he was acquitted of murder and other charges by a judge in 2002.

The South African Court of Appeal refused to overturn the acquittal.

But the country's highest court said the original judge had erred when ruling that the original charges fell outside South African law because they involved crimes allegedly committed outside the country.

In an unanimous decision, the high court said the country was obliged under international law to prosecute charges amounting to crimes against humanity.

Many of the original charges stemmed from horrific testimonies during the Truth and Reconciliation hearings.

Prosecutors estimate a retrial could begin within three months.



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