Botswana’s High Court, in a highly-anticipated verdict, on Tuesday ruled in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, which is outlawed under the country’s 1965 penal code.
Judge Michael Elburu “set aside” the “provisions of a Victorian era” and ordered the laws be amended.
In a courtroom packed with activists, the judge emphasised that the current laws oppressed a minority of the population.
The High Court had been petitioned by an anonymous person, identified only by initials LM for security reasons.
The individual challenged two sections of the penal code under which offenders face a jail sentence of up to seven years.
In March, the court postponed a ruling on the issue, sparking fears that the much-awaited decision could be delayed indefinitely.
But on Tuesday, Judge Elburu stressed that the country’s highest judicial body took the matter deeply seriously.