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The Impact of Trial Monitoring

Trial Monitoring is a means of ensuring the transparency of proceedings, improving respect for defendants’ fair trial rights, and promoting the rule of law.

In 2019, the Clooney Foundation for Justice TrialWatch Initiative deployed monitors to Equatorial Guinea, where 112 people were convicted for allegedly participating in a coup attempt. Human Rights Watch produced this video based on the monitors' observations of  rights abuses that occurred during the proceedings. The video was widely shared and highlighted the egregious nature of the trial.

Where judges, lawyers, and other justice system actors are complicit in or even perpetrators of human rights violations, trial monitoring is one tactic to uphold the rule of law. Trial monitors should be impartial, providing an unbiased, accurate representation of the events throughout a trial. Observers from outside the justice system provide a new set of eyes from which to evaluate if court procedures are following international fair trial standards, and can encourage better behavior. Neutral reports allow for greater transparency of court proceedings and can be used as a tool to analyze the larger justice system and work toward reforms where needed.

Read more: TrialWatch volunteers are helping secure human rights around the globe

View the Center's reports on trial monitoring.