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Dear friends and supporters of CFJ,

We’ve been growing at a dizzying pace and now, finally, we’re taking a moment to draw breath and update you on our exciting achievements, initiatives, and investigations. In our “Looking Back” section you’ll see some of the remarkable impact we’ve had since CFJ was founded. We’re not only monitoring trials in 35 countries around the world, but we’re also advocating for people wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, including journalists and women persecuted through the courts all over the globe.

In 2022, we’re excited to be adding to our list of close partners. In addition to working with the UN, the American Bar Association, Columbia Law School, and Microsoft on our TrialWatch program, our work on press freedom will also be supported by the Google News Initiative.

We are thrilled to announce our newest initiative Waging Justice for Women. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this project will tackle the pervasive discrimination and violence faced by women and girls around the world.

Amal & George Clooney

Waging Justice

Clooney Foundation for Justice


CFJ Looking back








The Docket

Through my experience, I think that TrialWatch is important because it documents all events and exposes human rights violations, and this is important for political detainees who are released from prison with nothing, just their dignity.”

Hajar Raissouni, Moroccan Journalist prosecuted for alleged abortion and sex outside of marriage.

At TrialWatch, we’re monitoring trials in over 35 jurisdictions. We’re advocating for individuals who are unfairly imprisoned and working towards a Global Justice Ranking using the grades that our legal experts allocate to each trial. For example, in ‘Hotel Rwanda’ figure, Paul Rusesabagina’s trial, legal expert Geoffrey Robertson called it a ‘show trial’ and will allocate the trial a grade in our final report due out soon.

TrialWatch has also shown the ‘hypercharging’ of cases in Hong Kong under the new national security law. Our expert and Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India, Rebecca Mammen John, gave the first trial under the law a grade of ‘D’.

TrialWatch was also focused on Belarus, where the crackdown on civil society extends all the way to the courts. Three major TrialWatch reports—two of them through our collaboration with the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights—released last October showed how democracy is being crushed through the courts. Journalists, the opposition, protesters, and ordinary citizens swept up for being in the wrong place at the wrong time all came under attack, as did the lawyers who defend them. To highlight our findings, we hosted a panel discussion featuring key Belarusian and international voices including the US Special Envoy for Belarus, Julie D. Fisher. We also filed an amicus brief supporting the journalists’ appeal of their conviction.

TrialWatch also monitored the trial of three Polish activists who were charged with ‘offending religious feelings’ for putting up posters showing the Virgin Mary with a Rainbow Halo.

Three networks of illegal antiquities smugglers and dealers were the subject of a year-long investigation by our team. We’ve now shared the evidence we gathered that showed the networks’ alleged complicity in war crimes by ISIS and other armed groups in the Middle East with a European war crimes prosecution office. More on this soon!

In an important step towards justice for the victims of atrocities during Sudan’s civil war, Swedish prosecutors indicted executives of Lundin Energy with complicity in war crimes committed by the Sudanese military and militias during the country’s 1999 to 2003 civil war. The Docket, which supports the victims’ domestic counsel in the case, has previously filed legal opinions and successfully thwarted the executives’ attempts to avoid a trial.

In a team effort with The Sentry, we successfully supported prosecutors in a European jurisdiction in the opening of a criminal investigation into international crimes by a major European company involved in trading gold from the Great Lakes region in Africa.

When Ugandan women’s rights activist Dr. Stella Nyanzi was convicted for posting a poem critical of the Ugandan President on Facebook, the TrialWatch report on her case was submitted to the Ugandan Appeals Court by her legal team. Her conviction was subsequently overturned in part because of the violations identified in the report.

Recently through our partnership with the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, TrialWatch monitored two trials against women who were prosecuted for aggravated homicide for obstetric emergencies in El Salvador. We used this reporting to intervene with partners in a critical test case at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which was brought on behalf of Manuela, a woman who was sentenced to 30 years in prison in El Salvador on similar charges and died in custody. Recently, the Inter-American Court issued its decision that the criminal process had been infected by the “use of gender stereotypes and preconceptions.” Our brief argued these stereotypes were common in such cases. The court ordered El Salvador to ensure justice sector personnel receive training to prevent this happening in the future. Our brief also identified the pressure that’s placed on doctors to report women seeking treatment for obstetric emergencies to the authorities as well as the misuse of pre-trial detention. The court addressed both of these issues and ordered El Salvador to enact reforms and pay damages to Manuela’s family.

Over the last year, we’ve taken five cases to the UN. These addressed violations in the trial of an imprisoned Crimean activist in Russia, an imprisoned journalist in Cambodia and Cameroon, a domestic abuse survivor in Kyrgyzstan, and a mass trial alleging a coup in Equatorial Guinea.

The Sentry’s longstanding investigations and advocacy targeting corrupt business tycoons like Dan Gertler, Benjamin Bol Mel, and Al Cardinal, among others, resulted in new and updated financial sanctions by the US Treasury Department against all three men and their companies.

Other Sentry investigations have highlighted the responsibility of corporate actors—from the French-owned Castel, a global sugar and beverage giant, to Russia’s Wagner Group, a private mercenary army—for atrocities committed in the Central African Republic. Evidence surfaced by The Sentry triggered an internal investigation by Castel, contributed to forthcoming EU sanctions against Wagner, and served as the basis for a criminal indictment against Hassan Bouba, a government minister and former militia leader with links to both. Stay tuned for more action at the national and international level.

how you can help

Our community is crucial! If you’re on social media, please share our work @ClooneyFDN, @TrialWatch @TheDocket.

What’s Next

We will host our inaguaral CFJ awards ceremony in the fall where we will honor remarkable people waging justice around the globe—more on this exciting news soon.

Please continue to follow us on social media @ClooneyFDN, @TrialWatch, @TheDocket & @TheSentry_org where we’ll keep you up to date on all of our latest news.

Our new and improved CFJ website will also be with you soon stay tuned!

2021: A record high for imprisoned journalists.”

Click here to read Amal’s op-ed about the need to build back media freedoms.

When survivors seek justice, they look for someone to give them hope that justice is possible. Amal gave me and many survivors hope that we will achieve justice. I am grateful to Amal for her tireless work to bring ISIS members to court.”

Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate



At TrialWatch we’ve taken on discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, survivors of domestic violence, and journalists. We’ve been monitoring the crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in Belarus and Hong Kong, and the repression of independent journalism in countries like Peru, Russia, Cameroon, Cambodia, Morocco, and India, where we recently announced we will monitor proceedings against investigative journalist, Rana Ayyub with our partners at Columbia Law School. TrialWatch monitoring in the case of Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni helped to put pressure on authorities, and she was later pardoned and freed. Amal’s client, Filipino journalist, Maria Ressa, was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, the first time in over 80 years that a journalist was given this honor. We are covering key cases in which journalists are targeted for Covid-19 reporting critical of government responses. At the same time, we are looking at how journalists are targeted under sedition laws in Asia. Our intervention in a seminal case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found El Salvador was violating women’s rights by criminalizing obstetric emergencies in the context of abusive anti-abortion laws.


At The Docket, we’re running nine investigations into some of the world’s most egregious human rights abuses. In our “Spotlight” section, you’ll learn more about our work on crimes against humanity in Venezuela, now being investigated by the International Criminal Court. We’re also proud to be supporting Sudanese victims in holding Swedish energy executives accountable for their company’s role in war crimes committed during Sudan’s “oil wars”. We’re investigating links between Syrian businesses and private militias responsible for atrocities in Syria, and we’re going after antiquities dealers whose trade finances terrorist groups like ISIS in the Middle East. Our work at The Docket is ever more important after the first-ever genocide conviction against an ISIS member was recently handed down in a German court using the principles of universal jurisdiction. As you will see below, Amal saw firsthand how important it is to victims and families to secure justice.

ISIS & Yazidi Genocide

Amal is counsel to a number of female survivors of sexual violence from the Yazidi community who were targeted by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In one case, she represented a woman who was the main witness at the first genocide trial worldwide. Testifying over seven days before a German court, this remarkable Yazidi woman provided the key evidence that sealed the genocide conviction against the defendant, ‘Taha A.-J.’, who had enslaved and abused her and killed her 5-year-old daughter. Taha A.-J. was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment. Click here to read Amal’s op-ed about representing Yazidi victims of genocide.

Last, but never least, our strategic partner The Sentry continues to fight to make sure war profiteers are shut off from their dirty money and can no longer profit from international crimes. For more on The Sentry’s latest investigation into ‘State Capture and Bribery in Congo’s Deal of the Century’, click here.

We are so grateful for your support, and we hope you’ll follow our work in the coming months as we continue the fight for justice. In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to!

Waging Justice


Click here to listen to our TrialWatch Legal Expert, Katerina Hadzi-Miceva Evans, speak about her experience working on Anastasia Shevchenko’s trial. Anastasia was the first person charged with violating Russia’s ‘undesirable organizations’ law and was subjected to deeply inhumane treatment by the Russian government, including invasive surveillance.

Click here to watch Ignacio Jovtis from our Docket team talk about his work on crimes against humanity in Venezuela and why we all should pay attention to the ICC prosecutor’s investigation there.