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Botswana adopted a dedicated counterterrorism law in 2014. Its material scope of application is very broad although there is a specific carve-out for peaceful protest in the law. The law was amended in 2018 to extend application to situations of armed conflict. 

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Botswana's 2014 Counterterrorism Act (as amended) defines an "act of terrorism" as proscribed conduct which involves

any act or omission in or outside Botswana which is intended to advance a political, ideological or religious cause, or by its nature or context, may reasonably be regarded as being intended to intimidate or threaten the public or a section of the public, or compel a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act, or to adopt or abandon a particular position.Section 2(1), 2014 Counterterrorism Act.  

The proscribed conduct includes the following acts of omissions that:

  • endanger or are likely to endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom of any person, any number or group of persons;
  • causes or is likely to cause serious bodily injury to a person not taking an active part in hostilities in a situation of armed conflict;
  • causes or is likely to cause damage to property, natural resources, environmental or cultural heritage;
  • disrupts any public service, including the police services, civil defence, and medical services, or disrupting or causing damage or destroying any computer system or the provision of services directly related to communication infrastructure, banking and financial services, utilities, transportation or key infrastructure;
  • creates a general insurrection in Botswana;
  • involves the use of explosives or other lethal devices;
  • involves the use of, or transportation of WMD;
  • causes damage to a ship or vehicle, or is likely to endanger the safe navigation of a ship on inland or international waters;
  • causes prejudice to public security or national defence involving the seizure of property, natural resources, environmental or cultural heritage; the hijacking of an aircraft, ship or vehicle, the taking of hostages; or
  • concerns the murder or kidnap of an internationally protected person

Also proscribed are the promotion, sponsorship, contribution to, command, aid,  incitement, encouragement, attempt, threat, conspiracy, organising, or procurement of any person, with the intent to commit any of these acts.

With respect to the disruption of public services:

any advocacy, protest, dissent, demonstration or industrial action shall not be considered as an act of terrorism if it is not intended to damage property, result in any serious bodily harm to a person or endanger a person’s life, or create a risk to human health, or to public safety.Section 2(2), 2014 Counterterrorism Act. 

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Botswana is a State Party to all of the main United Nations terrorism treaties. It acceded to the 2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention in 2021.

Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party


Botswana is not a State Party to the relevant treaties at regional level.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention Signatory 
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention State not party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

Botswana's 2014 Counterterrorism Act sets out penalties for acts of terrorism. Any of the offences proscribed therein attract the death penalty where the act results in death, or life imprisonment where the act does not result in death.S. 3(2), 2014 Counterterrorism Act.Assisting terrorism is punishable with imprisonment for up to thirty years.S. 4(1) and (2), 2014 Counterterrorism Act.Terrorist financing is subject to life imprisonment.S. 5(1), 2014 Counterterrorism Act.The 2018 Amendment Act broadens the crime of hostage-taking (removing the need for a ransom demand), which attracts a life sentence.S. 4(a), 2014 Counterterrorism Act (as amended in 2018).

Harbouring or transporting a terrorist is an offence liable to a twenty-year term of imprisonment.Ss. 6 and 7, 2014 Counterterrorism Act.Aiding and abetting an act of terrorism attracts the same offence as if the aider and abettor had commited an act of terrorism.S. 9, 2014 Counterterrorism Act.Under the 2018 Amendment Act, professing to be a terrorist as well as joining a terrorist group can attract a life sentence in prison.S. 13, 2014 Counterterrorism Act (as amended in 2018).

Domestic Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies

The 2014 Counterterrorism Act established the Counter-Terrorism Analysis and Fusion Agency, which comprises officers from the Botswana Police Service and Botswana Defence Force as well as the Directorate of Intelligence and Security and the Financial Intelligence Agency.S. 40, 2014 Counterterrorism Act.The 2018 Amendment Act created the National Counter-Terrorism Committee, whose mandate is to implement UN Security Council resolutions relating to the suppression of the financing of terrorism and the prevention and disruption of the financing of the proliferation of armaments or weapons of mass destruction.S. 12(A)(1) and (4), 2018 Counterterrorism Amendment Act.

At regional level, the Southern African Development Community Regional Counter Terrorism Centre (SADC RCTC) was formally established in Tanzania in March 2022. At the launch of the Centre, Botswana's Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, the Honourable Machana Ronald Shamukuni, said that the Centre could not have come at a more opportune moment to ensure that there is a dedicated structure to coordinate regional counter-terrorism efforts.


Botswana 2014 Counter-Terrorism Act

Botswana 2018 Counter-Terrorism (Amendment) Act