Clooney Foundation For Justice


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TrialWatch Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Courts are increasingly being used as a tool of oppression. In some countries, prosecutors and judges are used to imprison political critics.

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, blasphemy or apostasy or when they ignore the due process rights of defendants. Yet judges and prosecutors who violate human rights 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 which pose a high risk of human rights violations, including trials where the defendant is a critic of the government or a member of a minority or disenfranchised group.   Our intent is to engage on targeted cases in a manner that is outcome-oriented, drives national reforms, and animates domestic conversations about the importance of dignity, equality, and fairness.  In addition, the TrialWatch Project, will:

  • Help to train trial observers using a distance-learning, interactive online course to be developed in partnership with multilateral organizations working in this area.
  • Develop an international network of trusted journalists, lawyers, diplomats, parliamentarians and human rights activists to identify upcoming trials that pose a high risk of human rights violations.
  • Help to place trial observers in courtrooms worldwide to monitor these trials.
  • Help to create or disseminate fairness reports of these trials based on expert assessments.
  • Share the fairness reports with international lawyers who can represent the defendants.
  • Gather data that will contribute to a Justice Index documenting national courts’ adherence to human rights and the rule of law.

How to get involved

The TrialWatch Project will rely on the involvement of national partners.  If you want to…

  • Share information on your country’s criminal justice system,
  • Become a trial observer, or
  • Identify a trial that should be observed.



Empowering a Generation

The Clooney Foundation for Justice is designing a program to advance educational opportunities for Syrian refugees.

See Project

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The Clooney Foundation for Justice is developing the TrialWatch project to limit the use of the courts as a tool for oppression.

See Project

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Refugee Resettlement

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.

See Project