[JURIST] Spokesperson for the First People of Kalahari (FPK) [Right Livelihood backgrounder] Roy Sesana announced [AllAfrica report] Tuesday that his organization plans to take its land dispute case against the Botswana government to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website, JURIST news archive]. The FPK is an advocacy group representing San, or Bushmen [SI backgrounder] people who were relocated by the government from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in 1997. Sesana said that peace talks with President Ian Khama [BBC profile] had broken down and that the FPK would initiate proceedings in the ICJ because previous court orders granting land rights to the Bushmen have been ignored.
In 2006, the High Court of Botswana ruled [JURIST report] that the government's eviction of Bushmen inhabiting the Kalahari desert was "unlawful and unconstitutional." The suit was brought by 239 members of the San tribe aided by FPK and Survival International [advocacy website]. The Bushmen, whose ancestors have lived in the Kalahari desert for 20,000 years, claim that 12 percent of their fellow plaintiffs died in settlement camps since the government evicted them from the beginning in 1997. The Bushmen claimed that the eviction was motivated by the government's interest in increasing diamond mining operations, but the government cited concerns over the Bushmen's opposition to conservation efforts as the primary reason.