All over the world, courts have been weaponized against those who speak truth to power and stand up for the rights of the most vulnerable.

To reverse this trend, Co-Founders George and Amal Clooney launched TrialWatch in 2019. TrialWatch is the first global initiative that monitors criminal trials against the most vulnerable worldwide, provides free legal support to get innocent people out of prison, and advocates for the reform of unfair laws. TrialWatch has monitored trials in over 40 countries, focusing on journalists, women and girls, democracy defenders, LGBTQ+ people and activists, and religious and ethnic minorities. Using information we gather directly from courtrooms around the world, TrialWatch is building a Global Justice Index that will be the first to evaluate and rank countries on their justice systems through real-world data.

Did you know

Our monitoring and advocacy have successfully led to wrongfully prosecuted individuals being acquitted or freed.

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Become a Trial Monitor

TrialWatch has developed a UN-approved training course for people who want to be trial monitors, or just learn more about monitoring.

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TrialWatch is the first initiative in the world that monitors criminal trials globally and defends the rights of individuals who are unfairly imprisoned.

In more than 40 countries we are in courtrooms where journalists, women, LGBTQ+ people and minorities are prosecuted because of who they are, who they love or what they write. We file cases before national and international courts and bodies to overturn or reform unjust laws. And we are building a Global Justice Index to rank countries’ judicial systems and advocate for systemic change.

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Our work has led to dozens of defendants being released or having their charges withdrawn. We also work to reform the unjust laws and expose corruption in systems that underpin prosecutions targeting journalists, democracy-defenders, women and girls, and other vulnerable groups.

In many cases, a monitor’s presence in the courtroom can in itself have a direct impact.  Defendants whose trials we have monitored have said that TrialWatch’s monitoring sends a message to those who seek to silence them that the world is watching—that any violation of the defendant’s rights will be exposed far and wide.

The data gathered throughout the monitoring process forms the basis of our efforts in the next two steps: evaluation and advocacy.

If a defendant is detained before trial, our experts evaluate whether the detention complies with international standards. Once a trial starts, our monitors are trained to flag potential abuses, such as a defendant being denied access to a lawyer, a court shutting the public out of a trial, or even the prosecution using torture-tainted statements. We send monitors’ notes straight to our experts, who assess whether the proceedings comply with fair trial guarantees.

Our advocacy approach is as nuanced as the challenges we face: including advocacy in international, regional and national courts,  submissions to UN bodies and diplomatic or communications outreach. TrialWatch’s forthcoming Global Justice Index will be a crucial piece of TrialWatch’s unique advocacy approach.

Advocacy begins even before a trial and continues past its conclusion. We start concentrating global attention on a case when we announce our intent to monitor the trial, which lets those in the courtroom and beyond know that the world is watching. During trials, our monitors may witness serious abuses that we need to address right away, before the verdict. In a number of cases, our advocacy corrected the course of a trial or remedied a violation before it was too late.

A lawyer talks to the mother of her client during a trial

Global Legal Advocacy

CFJ has successfully intervened in cases before regional human rights courts such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, and supported constitutional challenges to the laws that facilitate unjust prosecutions.

TrialWatch has exposed sham trials which led to journalists, women, and activists being freed from prison or having their cases dismissed entirely. The Docket is gathering evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Sudan, and now Ukraine. Waging Justice for Women is creating opportunities for the future generation of women human rights lawyers in Africa through our fellowships program.

Around the world, women and girls face injustice simply because they are women.

On the ground and in the courts, we’re collaborating to advance their safety and equality.