Critically Acclaimed Novelist and Former Botswana High Court Judge visits School of Law

Lexington, VA • Friday, August 21, 2009

Justice Unity Dow

Unity Dow, the first woman appointed as Justice in the High Court of Botswana, will deliver a public lecture at Washington and Lee School of Law on Thursday, Aug. 27.

The lecture, titlted "No Person Shall Be Subjected to Torture or to Inhumane or Degrading Treatment - Period! Or?," will begin at 6:30 p.m. (note time change from earlier release) in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

As a High Court Justice, Dow, now retired, heard civil and criminal appeals from magistrate and customary courts, and sat on the court of first trial on capital and constitutional cases. She was a plaintiff on the groundbreaking case Republic of Botswana v Dow, the results of which allowed women in Botswana to pass their nationalities onto their children.

Dow is also a human rights activist, co-founding various organizations for HIV/AIDS awareness and women's rights, such as Aids Action Trust and Metlhaetsile Women's Information Centre. Dow completed her LLB in 1983 at the University of Botswana and Swaziland, including two years spent studying at the University of Edinburgh. Afterwards, she became a state counsel and between 1986 and 1991 was in private practice specializing in criminal matters.

She also  is the author of four internationally acclaimed novels. Her books, Far and Beyon', The Screaming of the Innocent, Juggling Truths, and The Heavens May Fall, focus on gender and cultural identity and justice and power.

Dow will be in residence at the School of Law for the week of Aug. 24, during which time she will teach a seminar on gender and human rights in Africa, using fiction and other literature to introduce students to African legal systems. Dow's visit and talk are sponsored by Frances Lewis Law Center.

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