2008 JusticeMakers Fellows

 Paralegal Coordinator Project

Rommel Alim Abitria (Philippines) is working to alleviate several problems found in city jails – slow trials, a lack of inmate programs, and prison congestion – by training inmates to become paralegals. Through training, they can then provide a valuable resource to new inmates lacking knowledge of the criminal justice system by pursuing cases of neglected inmates and acting as liaisons to the authorities. Read more

 Strengthening community justice system for the suitanable peace in Lamjung community

Ram Kumar Bhandari (Nepal) is strengthening the existing Nepalese justice system by researching and identifying the root causes of its most common problems: the community’s lack of understanding of the criminal justice system, the mistreatment of detainees, and a poorly functioning system of courts. Read more

 Justice in Customary Courts

Buhle Angelo Dube (Swaziland) is transferring cases that involve police brutality and corruption from the Swazi National Courts, which don’t allow admission of evidence or legal representation, to the Constitutional courts. He also aims to amend the Constitution of Swaziland to prohibit ordered canings as part of a sentence. He hopes to accomplish this by identifying cases of interest from the national courts, challenging the validity these cases on behalf of caned convicts, and working with the media to raise awareness of human rights violations by the police and balanced reporting without fear of retaliation from the government. Read more

 PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER: Improving access to justice for the poor through information communication technology

Patrick Chukwudi Dunkwu (Nigeria) seeks to ensure early legal counsel for indigent criminal defendants by using mobile phones to link lawyers and paralegals with defendants who have been recently arrested or sentenced. This will prevent the suspect from being unnecessarily detained by the police, taken to court secretly, or taken to prison on remand custody by the court. Read more

 Juvenile Justice

Malik Tahir Iqbal (Pakistan) is addressing the plight of children suffering from physical, mental, and sexual abuse in prison primarily because of an unchecked legal system. He hopes to implement a system of collecting accurate data from these prisons so that they may effectively implement rehabilitation centers for juveniles and public awareness programs about the juvenile justice system. Read more

 CLEAR Kisumu

Joy B. Mdivo (Kenya) is working to decrease the average time on remand awaiting trial and to afford justice to those most in need of representation in over-crowded Kenyan prisons. Providing legal education to prison populations of four prisons around Kisumu, Kenya will enable prisoners to represent themselves at mentions and bail hearings and to access support and referrals to pro bono lawyers. Read more

 Legal Aid clinic on women abuse and arbitrary detention monitoring

Franck Kamunga (DRC) is setting up a legal aid clinic to assist, monitor, and advocate for women’s rights in police stations in Kinshasa. Efforts will include a monthly journal publicizing cases of abuse and arbitrary detention to hold police accountable for their actions and a free text messaging service connecting pro bono lawyers with victims as soon as they are detained. Read more

 Teaching Human Rights

Aziz Tuffi Saliba (Brazil) is educating the public on rule of law and individual rights in some of Brazil’s most challenging communities. He will create and distribute multimedia information on citizens’ rights to community leaders, defendants and police to strengthen the foundation of Brazil’s criminal justice system in low-income neighborhoods. Read more

 Rural Communities Criminal Justice Awareness Project

Robert Kibaya (Uganda) is creating Community Criminal Justice Monitoring Committees at the village level. Committee members will conduct awareness campaigns to inform villagers of who to contact if they experience an injustice, and how they can present their cases for action. He will also establish an information resource center where villagers can access contact information for the nearest legal aid lawyers, police stations, and courts. Read more

 Mitigation of gender based injustices

Evans Muswahili (Kenya) is conducting an advocacy and civic education campaign to build the capacities of key stakeholders like judges, public administrators, village chiefs, and police forces, to work towards better access to justice for women and other marginalized groups. The campaign will be composed of seminars, road shows, and radio talk shows. Victims of torture, arbitrary detainment, and abuse – especially females – will receive education on their legal rights. Read more

 Preventing Torture in Detention Centers

Chimwemwe Ndalahoma (Malawi) is working to provide protection from torture and ill treatment for every detained person and prisoner. To accomplish this, paralegals will monitor the human rights situation of prisoners by visiting places of detention, being present for police interrogations, investigating and litigating torture cases, conducting legal aid clinics, and holding seminars to inform prisoners and the general public of their legal rights. Read more