court of appeal

Botswana's highest court upholds decriminalisation of gay sex, AG undertakes to implement this decision

Botswana’s apex court has upheld a high court decision decriminalising gay sex. And the country’s attorney general has issued a special media release on the subject, saying that Botswana has an impressive post-independence record of observing human rights and the rule of law. Against this background, the government will ensure the new decision in the court of appeal’s judgment is implemented.

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Five judges of Botswana’s highest court have rejected an appeal by the country’s attorney general that challenged a high court decision decriminalising gay sex.

Uganda prepares for new law on ‘human sacrifice’: here’s what a case of ‘human sacrifice’ looks like

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has just signed a long-anticipated piece of legislation into law. The new legislation, aimed to deal with ‘human sacrifice’, was originally introduced as a private member’s Bill but won widespread support in parliament. Among other tough provisions, the new law prescribes life imprisonment for anyone found to unlawfully possess human body parts as well as ‘instruments associated with human sacrifice’.


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A recent news story, showing Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni holding a Bill he had just signed into law, will have astonished many of its readers. The headline said that the Bill signed by Museveni was a law on ‘human sacrifice’, and that with the new legislation it would be possible to send someone to prison for life if they had been involved in killing people ‘for rituals’.

Time to end mandatory death penalty in Zambia?

The courts of Zambia continue to pass and confirm the death penalty in alarming numbers, following a 2016 constitutional review in which the majority of voters expressed support for the existing laws on hanging. Presidents have periodically commuted large batches of death row prisoners. The most recent mass commuting of death penalty sentences occurred earlier this year, when President Edgar Lungu moved 225 men and 21 women off death row, ostensibly to reduce ‘overcrowding’ and create better conditions to protect against Covid-19.

Never will I forget the first time I sat in court, watching and listening as a judge passed the death sentence on a convicted person. In the years after that, before South Africa’s new apex court found the death penalty unconstitutional, I witnessed that scene on a number of other occasions, but each time it was a shock, a jolt to the soul: how could it be that this person, whom everyone in court had somehow got to know through the hours or days of the trial, who was alive and well, would be put to death by hanging on the orders of this judge?

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