Women and Justice: Court: Court of Appeal of Botswana

Domestic Case Law

G.M.J. v Attorney General Court of Appeal of Botswana (2018)

Abortion and reproductive health rights

Here, in a unanimous judgment, the Court of Appeal reversed a decision by the High Court to dismiss a medical negligence claim raised by a woman who underwent a surgical procedure for the removal of her womb and experienced the leaking of urine after the procedure. Appellant had sought damages from medical negligence and lack of proper post-operative care. The Court’s holding clarifies the law on prescription and medical negligence, which are a prominent method through which women try to access the courts when their reproductive health rights are violated.

State. v. Matlho Court of Appeal of Botswana (2008)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

The appellant challenged the sentence for rape under the sections of the Penal Code that set forth mandatory minimum sentences for rape charges depending on circumstances such as the perpetrator's use of violence or the perpetrator's status as being HIV positive. Section 142(5) of the Penal Code prohibits a sentence for rape from running concurrently with any other offense; the sentences must be served consecutively.  The appellant was convicted on two counts of rape and sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for each count, resulting in a total of 20 years imprisonment, which he claimed was a violation of the constitutional prohibition on "torture or inhuman or degrading punishment."  The Court upheld the conviction, noting that although it was undeniably severe, it was not disproportionate to the offense, especially in light of the increase in the incidence of rape in Botswana and the heinous nature of rape itself.