George and Amal Clooney are setting up a new program to monitor trials and courtrooms around the world that oppress LGBTI people and other groups.
According to Reuters, their Clooney Foundation for Justice is launching TrialWatch this year.
The project aims to ‘monitor trials and create an index to track which countries are using courtrooms to oppress minorities and government critics’.
George Clooney, 57, said courtrooms can be used to do ‘really rotten things’. TrialWatch is meant to ‘shine a light’ on what’s happening with these global trials.
‘We now have the highest number of journalists in jail in the world since records began,’ Amal Clooney said at an event in Edinburgh.
Amal Clooney, 41, is an international human rights lawyer. She is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and has represented the likes of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
She said she hopes to use both her and her husband’s fame and power to do good.
‘It helps when we want to engage governments to act or business leaders,’ said the British-Lebanese lawyer.
The couple, who married in 2014, founded their Clooney Foundation for Justice in 2016. It serves ‘the rights of individuals unfairly targeted by oppressive governments through the courts’.
The organization’s mission statement advocates ‘advancing justice for marginalized and vulnerable communities targeted by hate; justice for displaced children deprived of opportunities to learn; justice for refugees seeking to rebuild their lives abroad’.
Power of courts
Courts have the ability to dictate laws in countries and legalize protections for LGBTI people — or the opposite.
They can rule on the criminalization of gay sex and make decisions on Donald Trump’s transgender military ban. On an individual level, courts can grant rights to transgender individuals or lesbian couples persecuted in their home countries.