In the face of all the international justice mobilisation around Ukraine, we want to reiterate how important is it to have external watchdogs to monitor trials and keep all of us updated on them.
In May 2021, all international justice nerds (Stephanie is particularly upset about this one) had to bid farewell to the International Justice Monitor which supplied many of us with daily updates on major trials (although it stopped working, its archive remains online).
We took the occasion as a chance to chat with two expert trial monitors, Taegin Reisman and Jennifer Easterday, about why people monitor trials, what its intended impact – especially on affected communities – is, and who is picking up the torch now that Open Society Justice Initiative is no longer focused on this area.
Taegin Reisman was at Open Society Foundations where she managed IJMonitor. Jennifer Easterday is the Executive Director at JustPeace Labs and helped mould Open Society’s monitoring project via her time with the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center, ensuring the monitoring of the trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
If monitoring is your thing, we refer also to the guide written by Janet for Open Society for organisations thinking about how to gather, disseminate and advocate around mass atrocity trials.
Jennifer’s version of escapism involved watching Vikings and reading Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Taegin was braving Season 4 of the Handmaid’s Tale, and recommends books Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong.