Botswana’s special courts on gender-based violence (GBV) commenced sitting on Tuesday, with more than 200 cases to be heard over the next three months.According to Registrar and Master of the High Court Michael Motlhabi, a group of four magistrates would preside over the GBV cases between December 2020 and February 2021.
“Four magistrates will be taking up this assignment for three months, and this team will be led by the Chief Magistrate of Molepolole Magistrate Court,” Motlhabi said.
He said three mobile courts have been dedicated for this assignment, “and they will, on occasion, be visiting Takatokwane, Letlhakeng, Sojwe and Thamaga over the course of the three months.
The dedicated courts are expected to deal with GBV and related cases to protect women, children and other vulnerable groups in the wake of a disturbing rise in GBV incidents in the country.
It has been observed that GBV cases involving intimate partner violence in the form of physical or sexual assault and sexual abuse of minor children have increased at an alarming rate since the start of the COVID- 19 pandemic early this year.
The special courts will ensure that all GBV cases are treated as urgent applications and be given expedited management and disposal.