The purpose of this post is to briefly summarize organized innocence activity around the world during 2012 (If I have left items out, please let me know so I can supplement this post). The calendar year 2012 undoubtedly saw the largest expansion of organized innocence work in history. Well-attended innocence conferences were held in 5 different continents. Organizations designed to free the innocent operated in every inhabited continent, and new projects launched in various Latin American countries, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Israel, and Taiwan, among others. Here is a brief summary:
- The Innocence Network, which currently consists of more than 60 member projects in the U.S., UK, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia, issued its 2012 report, which lists the members and summarizes the 22 exonerations its members obtained in the calendar year. Major conferences on the subject were held in Australia, the UK and the U.S.
- A network of organizations fighting for the innocent was launched in Latin America, Red Inocente (website here). Red Inocente held its first annual conference in July, which was attended by more than 70 representatives from various Latin American countries. Presentations were made about innocence efforts underway in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Puerto Rico. Details of conference here. The second annual conference will be held in 2013 in Buenos Aires. Red Inocente has already seen its first exoneration, which occurred this year in Argentina.
- In Europe, the UK has had a rich history of innocence work for decades, most recently spearheaded by the Innocence Network UK, and many other university-based groups not part of INUK. This past year has seen innocence organizations launch in the Netherlands and in Lyon, France. The Innocence Law Clinic in Warsaw, Poland, successfully continued its operations, which have been ongoing since 1999, and the Supreme Court of Poland held a lecture on the international expansion of the Innocence Movement, sponsored by the Helsinki Foundation. Also in Poland, a conference was held in Krakow on on the topic of wrongful convictions, attended by judges and prosecutors from across the country. In the Czech Republic, lectures on wrongful convictions were held at 2 major law schools, summarized in this news clip. Interest in starting an innocent project is budding in Italy, with representatives from a major law school there planning to attend the 2013 Innocence Conference and to shadow the Ohio Innocence Project this summer.
- In Africa, the highly-organized Wits Justice Project in South Africa continued its operations with many successes; and a new Innocence Project South Africa launched
- The Israeli Wrongful Convictions Clinic launched
- In Asia, projects launched with much acclaim in Taiwan and the Philippines. China held its first major conference on the topic of wrongful conviction, attended by hundreds of judges, prosecutors, professors and defense attorneys. Two books on wrongful convictions, False Justice and Illustrated Truth, were translated and published in China.