In other places, a judge’s rulings can be purchased by the highest bidder. Judges can also be complicit in grave human rights abuses when they convict for ‘crimes’ such as homosexuality or blasphemy, or when they ignore the due process rights of defendants. Yet judges and prosecutors are rarely held to account. In some countries, courtrooms are closed. And even where trials are open to the public, proceedings can be long, convoluted and hard to understand.
In response to these pressing needs, the Clooney Foundation for Justice is developing an initiative focused on monitoring, reporting on, and responding to trials around the world that pose a high risk of human rights violations. We expect to focus on trials in which the law may be used to target a minority or silence a government critic, meaning that there is a likelihood of a politicized, unfair trial.
Trial monitoring can help promote fairness in the courtroom in at least three ways:
Although there are organizations undertaking ad hoc trial monitoring in select contexts, there is no comprehensive global program scrutinizing the courts of the world; nor is there a global standard for how trial monitoring should be conducted.
TrialWatch aims to professionalize and scale the practice of trial monitoring. This means training a new cadre of trial monitors, including non-lawyers, through an interactive online course. It means building a community of trial monitors working in courtrooms around the world. And it means taking a data-driven approach to the practice of trial monitoring that will allow trials and judicial systems to be measured and compared.
Through the TrialWatch Project, the Clooney Foundation of Justice will:
The TrialWatch Project will rely on the involvement of national partners. If you want to…
The Clooney Foundation for Justice has partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center to expand its relentless efforts to combat hate groups in the United States.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice has partnered with UNICEF to advance educational opportunities for Syrian refugees.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice is developing the TrialWatch project to limit the use of the courts as a tool for oppression.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice has sponsored the resettlement of Syrian and Yazidi refugees in the United States and will continue to offer support and assistance.