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Omnia Takes Case of Former President Seretse Khama Ian Khama to the United Nations.

London, 7 February 2022: Omnia has submitted a new petition to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (the “UNSR”) on behalf of former President of Botswana Seretse Khama Ian Khama (“President Khama”). The petition concerns ongoing threats against President Khama’s life and safety, as well as the Botswanan Government’s failure meaningfully to respond to grave concerns already raised by the UNSR.

Then-UNSR Dr Agnès Callamard, who previously led the high-profile investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has already expressed serious concern about risks to the life of President Khama. She stated she was “concerned with the dismissive responses of the authorities to the allegations, indicating a disconcerting disregard for the serious threats against Mr. Khama’s life”.

Omnia’s urgent petition follows a wholly inadequate, hollow and belated reply from the Government of Botswana, inexplicably filed seven months after the UNSR issued an Urgent Appeal calling for answers and immediate steps to halt violations and prevent their reoccurrence.  

It has now been a year since Omnia first brought President Khama’s precarious situation to the attention of the UNSR on 9 February 2021. In light of the Government of Botswana’s clumsy attempt to brush the UNSR’s concerns aside, there are deeply worrying, ongoing developments in President Khama’s case that reinforce the need for prompt and further action from the UNSR, as detailed in Omnia’s latest petition.

The legal team is led by Omnia’s Chair, Cherie Blair CBE, QC, alongside partners James Palmer and Adam-Smith Anthony, and associates Lauren Lederle and Pietro Bombonato.

Mrs Blair said:

Given the gravity of the issues at stake and raised by the UN Special Rapporteur, Botswana’s Reply signals a complete lack of respect for its international obligations and the rule of law, and a callous, politically motivated, disregard for the safety of President Khama. We call upon the UN Special Rapporteur to condemn this conduct in the strongest terms, and take urgent and robust action to guarantee President Khama’s safety.”

A briefing note on the petition can be found here.

The UNSR’s Urgent Appeal can be found here.