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As the final arguments came to a close in the Kalahari Bushmen's court case against the Botswana government on Friday, the court announced that a judgement will be made on 13 December.
Bushman Jumanda Gakelebone of First People of the Kalahari said today, We are very happy that the case is finally over. We hope that justice is done, and that we can go back soon to our beautiful land.'
At least 10% of the original 243 applicants have died in government resettlement camps since the case was filed. 135 more Bushmen have asked to be added to the original list of 243 applicants this year.
The Bushmen are fighting for their right to return to their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and to hunt and gather freely. They first filed the case in April 2002, following the evictions in February that year, but it was thrown out on a technicality. The Bushmen appealed and won the right to have the case heard, and it began in July 2004 in Botswana's High Court. It has since faced long delays. The case has been the longest and most expensive in Botswana's legal history, despite being brought by the country's poorest inhabitants.
The court will be open to journalists and members of the public.
To read a summary of issues prepared by the Bushmen's legal team, click here
For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]