No, Botswana judges didn’t declare suspension of British parliament unlawful

A meme posted on Facebook on 12 September 2019 claims judges from Botswana declared the recent suspension of the UK parliament to be unlawful.

It shows what appears to be four judges sitting in court. The text reads: “Breaking News: These judges in Botswana have declared Boris Johnson prorogue UNLAWFUL.”

In late August British prime minister Boris Johnson requested Queen Elizabeth II to “prorogue” or suspend or the UK parliament. The queen agreed to prorogue parliament for five weeks.

But was the suspension ruled unlawful by “judges in Botswana”, as the Facebook meme claims? We checked.

Judges from Kenya, not Botswana

A Google reverse image search reveals that the judges in the meme’s photo are Kenyan supreme court judges, photographed on 15 November 2011.

The photo appears on Kenya’s Daily Nation news website.

Matter for British courts

Judges don’t usually rule on issues in other countries. Courts in Botswana – or Kenya – do not, generally speaking, have jurisdiction over matters in the UK, including the country’s exit from the European Union. The matter was recently addressed by the British supreme court.

On 24 September 2019 – 12 days after the meme was posted on Facebook – Britain’s supreme court ruled that the suspension of the UK parliament was unlawful. – Grace Gichuhi


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