The Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ), the organization founded by Amal and George Clooney to advocate for justice through accountability for human rights abuses around the world, has partnered with Microsoft for TrialWatch, a new custom, state-of-the-art app to enable trial monitors to capture all relevant data — including photographs, audio clips, notes and official documents — in one place. The app, which has been piloted in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America over the past few months, also allows to distill the information needed to make an assessment of the fairness of a trial.
“Courts around the world are increasingly being used to silence dissidents and target the vulnerable. But so far there has been no systematic response to this,” said Amal Clooney in a statement. “The Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch program is a global initiative to monitor trials, expose abuses, and advocate for victims, so that injustice can be addressed, one case at a time.”
According to GeekWire, the app uses Microsoft Azures cloud technology and artificial intelligence tools. It’s available on iOS, Android, an Windows operating systems. Data can be recorded in a wide variety of languages and translated using Microsoft technology, including speech-to-text and machine translation features.
“This new technology will promote fairness in trials by making the world a witness to what happens inside courtrooms,” said Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith in a statement. “The TrialWatch app we developed with the Clooney Foundation for Justice will help human rights advocates monitor trials and share this data instantly with experts around the world. This is a critical step in upholding justice where it often matters the most — when a defendant’s freedom hinges on having a fair trial.”
According to Smith the partnership between CFJ and Microsoft is a new cornerstone of the AI for Humanitarian Action program that the Seattle-based company launched last September at the United Nations General Assembly meetings. It shows, he said, how “cutting-edge technology in the hands of human rights experts and volunteers can be a game changer.”
This is not the first time the Clooney partner with Silicon Valley and tech companies. In 2017, CFJ announced a $2.25 million partnership with UNICEF, which included a generous donation from Google.org, and a $1 million technology grant from HP, to support formal education for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The partnership also supported a pilot of technology tools to advance learning outcomes for refugee children and Lebanese youth.