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Eric Mawira Gitari
S.J.D. Candidate

Graduate Fellow, LL.M. Writing Advisor
egitari at


How Background Legal Issues Become Foreground Constitutional Issues: Criminalization of Homosexual Conduct and Rule of Law in Kenya, Botswana and Nigeria.

My dissertation compares and analyzes how criminalization of homosexual conduct in three African countries has come to be conceived as a constitutional issue and what this tells us about the way legal-socio issues such as homosexuality become constitutional issues. It analyzes Constitutional law and social change in Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria by stalking the criminalization of homosexual conduct, efforts in its re/decriminalization and legal reform work towards formal protection and substantive equality and non discrimination. The dissertation  demonstrates how background legal socio issues become foreground constitutional issues and what that implies on how issues migrate and transform within varying legal ecosystems.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Human Rights and International Law with Professor Gerald Neuman, Harvard Law School
  • Comparative Constitutional Law with Professor Vicki Jackson, Harvard Law School
  • Human Rights and Transnational Social Networks with Professor Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard Kennedy School

Additional Research Interests

  • Jurisprudence
  • Comparative law
  • Law and social change
  • 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
  • Harvard Law School, 2018-2019 Summer Academic Fellowship
  • Harvard Law School, 2019 Chayes International Public Service Fellow
  • Harvard Law School, 2019-2020 Human Rights Program Research Assistant
  • Harvard Law School, 2021 Summer Public Interest Fellow
  • Yale Law School, Global Health Justice Program, Youth Equity and Science Project, Advisory Committee member
  • Harvard Law School, 2021-2022 Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Writing Advisor
  • Harvard Law School, 2022 Summer Public Interest Fellow
  • Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, 2022-2023 Graduate Student Affiliate

Published Work

Gitari Eric & Walters Mark, (2020) Hate Crimes Against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth: A Situational Analysis.  The Human Dignity Trust, London.
Available at:

Additional Information

Last Updated: July 5, 2022