As part of the Clooney Foundation for Justice TrialWatch Initiative, the Center has worked in 21 countries thus far. Please see below for some examples of our public work.
Eastern Europe & Eurasia
In Eurasia, the Center has focused its efforts on women's rights and journalists. With respect to women's rights, the Center is closely tracking domestic violence trends in the region. In early 2020, the Center monitored the trial of Gulzhan Pasanova, a longterm domestic violence survivor who was charged with grievous bodily harm for killing her husband in what appeared to be an act of self-defense. Ms. Pasanova's trial was marred by severe due process violations and infected by gender stereotypes. The Center's report formed the basis of an amicus brief submitted on appeal and also spurred media coverage on the issue of domestic violence. The Center has further monitored proceedings brought against journalists in Eurasia, from the case of editor Marina Zolotova in Belarus to the case of Alnur Ilyashev in Kazakhstan.
Latin America and the Caribbean
In Latin America, the Center has focused on assisting the most marginalized members of society. In El Salvador, for example, the Center monitored the trials of two socioeconomically disadvantaged women (Diana* and Evelyn Hernandez) who were prosecuted for aggravated homicide following complicated out-of-hospital deliveries. The subsequent reports highlighted the ways in which El Salvador's draconian approach to reproductive rights both violates fundamental due process norms and targets the most vulnerable. The Center has further monitored proceedings against indigenous land rights defenders, likewise some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Middle East & North Africa
In MENA, the Center has focused its efforts on supporting human rights defenders and journalists. In Algeria, for example, the Center observed the trial of Ahmed Manseri, a blogger and human rights activist who was charged with criminal defamation after filing a complaint against the head of a local police unit for assault. Although Mr. Manseri was ultimately acquitted, the proceedings were marred by several fair trial violations, including violations of his right to be informed of the charges and his right to adequate time to prepare his defense. Mr. Manseri's trial demonstrated the power of trial monitoring, as both Mr. Manseri and his lawyer relayed that the acquittal likely stemmed from the scrutiny occasioned by the observation. In MENA, the Center has also monitored proceedings brought against journalists on the basis of outdated speech offenses.
South & Southeast Asia
In South and Southeast Asia, the Center has focused on government efforts to stamp out dissenting voices. In one of its first cases, the Center monitored the habeas corpus proceedings of imprisoned journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, who had criticized the ruling party in Facebook videos that went viral. Soon after the Center released a preliminary report on the arbitrariness of Mr. Wangkhem's detention, he was released. The Center has also monitored several trials in Cambodia, including the trial of former Radio Free Asia journalists Yeang Sothearin and Uon Chhin on spurious charges of espionage and the trial of opposition activist Kong Raiya on the basis of his advertisement of T-shirts promoting a slain opposition leader. Most recently, the Center is monitoring several trials in Malaysia brought against journalists critical of the government.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Center has taken on a wide range of observations, from trials of journalists to trials of members of the LGBT community to trials regarding women's rights. In Uganda, for example, the Center monitored the trial of LGBT and women's rights activist Stella Nyanzi. Ms. Nyanzi was prosecuted on the basis of a poem she posted on Facebook in which she suggested that Uganda would have been better served if President Museveni had never been born. She was convicted of cyber-harassment in a trial that the Center found was compromised by serious violations of her right to prepare a defense and right to call and examine witnesses. Defense counsel submitted the Center's report on appeal, Ms. Nyanzi's conviction was overturned, and she was released. With respect to journalists, the Center is monitoring the trials of Cameroonian journalist Paul Chouta, Nigerian journalist Omoyele Sowore, and Ugandan filmmaker Moses Bwayo. The Center is also closely tracking the targeting of LGBT individuals in Africa, monitoring, among others, proceedings in Uganda against 67 individuals arrested during a mass raid of an LGBT-friendly bar and charged with common nuisance; the trial in Uganda of a sheikh and a transgender woman on charges of so-called unnatural offenses; and the trial in Uganda of 47 individuals for allegedly engaging in public displays of affection with the same sex.