We monitor criminal trials globally to expose injustice and help to free those unjustly detained.

Through our monitoring, we have seen patterns in how justice systems are abused and corrupted to target the most vulnerable, keep the powerful in power and keep the disenfranchised silent.

Trial monitoring involves sending an observer to court to watch and listen to what happens. This allows an impartial evaluation of what takes place and whether any violations of human rights have occurred.

Complete our UN-endorsed online training to become a Trial Monitor.

Monitoring means bringing the eyes and ears of the world to a courtroom that may be in a remote location, or where a defendant’s life may be on the line. More broadly, monitoring can show patterns in how justice systems are abused and corrupted to target the most vulnerable and keep the powerful in power.

President and Vice Chair of Microsoft, Bard Smith

It’s a straightforward vision: To make the world a witness to what happens in courtrooms around the world.

Brad Smith Vice Chair and President, Microsoft

Monitors use a customized app, developed with Microsoft, to record their observations from inside the courtroom. Using this data, a legal expert assesses whether the trial lived up to international legal standards and grades the trial.

We also partner with leading law firms and law schools around the world to extend the reach of our trial coverage. Together, this means we are able to work in more than 40 countries – a scale that has not previously been possible.

Trial monitoring is integral to advocacy work on behalf of political prisoners or others who are unfairly detained. By creating an objective and public record of what happened at trial we can launch effective appeals or obtain remedies before international and regional courts.

Ugandan activist and writer Stella Nyanzi getting detained by officers

How would we make a commentary, how would we critique the court system . . . if we didn't have monitors?

Stella Nyanzi Ugandan women’s rights activist
Ugandan police detain Stella Nyanzi (REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa)

Impact of Monitoring

In a number of our cases, we have seen how a monitor’s presence can in itself have a direct impact.

For instance, in the Abelino Chub case in Guatemala, local partners relayed that, in their view, the monitor’s presence in the courtroom affected the outcome of the case – an acquittal.

Kazakhstan activist Alnur Ilyashev holding a sign

When I realized and recognized that my trial is monitored by the Clooney Foundation it was huge for me in many aspects . . . . It was huge support for me.

Alnur Ilyashev Activist in Kazakhstan
Activists protest in Bangladesh demanding release of photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol

I feel extremely good about [the trial monitoring]. … It gives me a sense of hope, and it gives me some courage.

Shafiqul Islam Kajol Photojournalist and News Editor, Bangladesh

Our Initiatives

Amal and George Clooney with other panelists at the TrialWatch conference


This initiative monitors criminal trials against the most vulnerable to free the innocent and advocate for the reform of unfair laws.

Learn more

The Docket

This initiative gathers evidence to prosecute those who commit mass atrocities and represent victims in court.

Learn more

Waging Justice for Women

This initiative fights to overturn laws that discriminate against women and girls, while investing in the future generation of gender justice champions.

Learn more

Legal Justice

When an injustice occurs, we carry out or fund legal advocacy in regional or international forums to try to right the wrongs we have witnessed and bring attention to them on a global scale. This can involve pursuing both individuals and corporations complicit in international crimes and supporting people who have been the victims of unfair trials.