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Eric Mawira Gitari

S.J.D. Candidate

Graduate Fellow, LL.M. Advisor

egitari at



Criminalization of Homosexuality in Africa and Rule of Law: Evidence of Legal and Social Change in Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria

My project analyzes constitutional law and social change with regard to homosexuality in three African countries of Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria. It will trace the criminalization of homosexuality, recent trends in its decriminalization and the progression to formal protection and substantive equality for (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) persons in the three countries. It will compare the legal, political and social challenges resulting from criminalization of same sex conduct in African legal systems and the effect of such criminalization in accessing rights – such as right to fair trial, employment, registration of associations, housing and expression. Because the legal systems of the three countries under study are founded on formal constitutions, the paper will investigate application of rule of law in institutional practices when interpreting and applying anti-homosexual criminal law on one hand and in dispensing justice on the other to understand how legal and social change is happening in the three countries.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • International Law and Human Rights with Professor Gerald Neuman, Harvard Law School
  • The Rule of Law and Constitutions with Professor Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School
  • Transnational Social Movements and Human Rights with Professor Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Sexual Citizenship in Africa with Professor George Paul Meiu, Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Additional Research Interests

  • Gender and the Political Economy
  • Feminist Jurisprudence
  • The Economics of Law


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate 2018-Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program 2017-2018 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • University of Nairobi, LL.B. 2007

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, 2018-2019, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Advisor

Additional Information

Last Updated: August 12, 2018