The International Justice Monitor website was created to expand awareness and understanding of the role of international justice in holding accountable those responsible for atrocities, particularly war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
It aims to do so by providing regular, balanced, and accessible monitoring reports on significant trials of those accused of mass crimes, focusing on prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and in national courts. Trials are monitored on a regular basis from opening statements through appeals. Pre-trial proceedings are also often covered in the “News” section of the website.
In addition, the website provides a space for commentary on issues immediately raised by the cases we are monitoring. We also hope to encourage debate and analyses of developments that shape the broader evolution of international criminal law and justice, for example, the way new technologies are being used in international criminal tribunals. However, we are not a repository for content, such as press releases or reports, produced by other organizations or individuals.
The site is operated by the Open Society Justice Initiative, part of the Open Society Foundations.
The Justice Initiative launched its first trial monitoring site in 2007 with the trial of Charles Taylor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, hoping to bring information about the trial to communities in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. Since then, separate websites have followed individual trials at the ICC, as well as the 2013 genocide trial in Guatemala of the country’s former military ruler, Efrain Rios Montt.
This website, launched in March 2014, combines those previously separate trial monitoring sites, along with our reporting on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, while adding space for additional commentary.
We are happy for our monitoring reports and other material on this site to be republished free of charge, with appropriate credit. You can also follow along on Twitter @ijmonitor or Facebook. If you are interested in submitting a commentary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharon Nakandha is an Aryeh Neier Fellow with the Open Society Justice Initiative focusing on international justice, particularly researching and assessing developments in this field, trial monitoring, and liaising with other NGOs working on international justice issues at national and international level. She was previously a program officer with Avocats Sans Frontières’ international justice program in Uganda and worked closely with the national ICC Outreach office, civil society actors, and the legal fraternity to promote justice for victims of grave crimes in Northern Uganda. Her work involved publishing research on a number of legal and policy issues such as the legality of amnesties, Africa’s relationship with the ICC, and other broader transitional justice aspects. Ms. Nakandha was a trial monitor of the first case brought before the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda, and an active participant in the process of developing a national transitional justice policy for Uganda. Sharon received her LL.M. in Public International Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands. She is a qualified Ugandan lawyer with a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Uganda and is a member of the Uganda Law Society.
Mariana Pena is the legal officer for international justice with the Open Society Justice Initiative, based in The Hague. Prior to joining the Justice Initiative, Ms. Pena was a consultant in the field of justice, human rights, and civil society. She was previously a member of a victims’ legal representation team in one of the Kenya cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and, prior to that, she worked for the International Federation for Human Rights as a Permanent Representative to the ICC. She held volunteer positions with the ICC, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the American NGO Coalition for the ICC and is a qualified attorney in her native country, Argentina, where she handled litigation and also worked as a tribunal clerk. Ms. Pena holds a law degree from El Salvador University (Argentina), an LLM in international and comparative law from Uppsala University (Sweden), and a master’s degree in international organizations from Sorbonne University (France). She is a published author of articles on international tribunals and victims’ access to justice, and is fluent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.
Taegin Reisman is the associate legal officer for international justice with the Open Society Justice Initiative. Ms. Reisman earned her undergraduate degree in International Affairs at Florida State University and her Juris Doctor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where during her final year, she was the managing editor of Human Rights Quarterly. Prior to joining the Justice Initiative, she worked as a research assistant with the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights and spent a summer working as a clerk with the High Court of Botswana working under the direction of Justice Unity Dow. Her work at the Justice Initiative focuses on ICC case monitoring and management of the International Justice Monitor website. She also contributes to other international justice technical assistance projects.
Eric Witte is the senior project manager on complementarity. The project promotes the political will and capacity required to investigate, prosecute and conduct fair trials of grave crimes at the national level. The Justice Initiative encourages the integration of support for national trials of grave crimes into general rule-of-law development; it develops related policy guidance for decision-makers; and it works to develop political will and capacity in specific countries, including Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, and Guatemala. Mr. Witte has been working in the field of international criminal justice for 15 years. He has served as external relations adviser to the president of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and political adviser to the chief prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown. He has authored two Justice Initiative publications—Putting Complementarity into Practice: Domestic Justice for International Crimes in DRC, Uganda, and Kenya, and International Crimes: Local Justice, a handbook for rule of law programmers (also available in French and Spanish). Mr. Witte has a degree in political science and foreign policy from the Universität Regensburg, Germany.
Tom Maliti has worked for media organizations in Africa and Asia over the past two decades. He cut his teeth in the media world in 1991 as a freelance contributor to The Frontier Post in Lahore, Pakistan, writing short stories and feature articles. Later, he was part of a team of journalists that started Pakistan’s first weekend newspaper, The News on Sunday. He has served as editor of EXECUTIVE, a business magazine in Kenya; Expression Today, a media and human rights journal; and the African Woman and Child Feature Service. Before joining the International Justice Monitor in mid-2011, he worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press in its East Africa Bureau.
Wairagala Wakabi has since 2009 covered the trial of Thomas Lubanga, and from 2010 the Jean-Pierre Bemba trial for the Open Society Justice Initiative. He has covered the Congo war since 1998, reporting for The Star (South Africa), The EastAfrican (Kenya), The Lancet (UK), and New Internationalist (UK). He also worked with the Institute for War and Peace reporting. A holder of an MA in Journalism and Media Studies from Rhodes University (South Africa) and an MSc in Informatics from Örebro University (Sweden), Wakabi has also reported from Burundi, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, and Uganda.