Botswana High Court

A legal attempt aiming to repeal Botswana’s anti-gay legislation that criminalises same-sex sexual activity will be heard at the nation’s High Court.

The historic lawsuit against Botswana’s Attorney General, was filed by a gay man known to the courts as LM for his safety, argues that sections 164(a), 164(c) and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code are unconstitutional.

Currently, in the African nation, LGBTI people can be prosecuted under these laws, which ban so-called “unnatural offences” and “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” with penalties for those convicted including seven years in prison.

Seeking progress on the nations dated laws, the lawsuit is hoping the court will rule that the continued criminalisation of consensual same-sex sexual relationships violates ones basic constitutional rights.

The human rights advocacy group, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (Legabibo), argue that the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual acts would “not only greatly enhance public health, by assisting with treatment, care and education in the fight against HIV in particular, but it will also affirm basic human rights and the diversity of the Botswana nation.”

In recent years, Botswana courts have shown an increased willingness to protect the rights of LGBTI people, notably In two separate cases in 2017, when the Botswana High Court ordered the state to legally recognise the gender identity of transgender persons and to issue the applicants with the relevant identity documents.