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Student Staff Update by Courtney Marasigan

By October 29, 2015December 16th, 2019IJM, Student Staff
I have been given the opportunity to work on a project for International Justice Mission (IJM)—an amazing organization that initially sparked my interest in human rights and in working for the Center for Global Justice. IJM is a global organization focused on protecting the poor from acts of violence. IJM aims to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems in developing countries.

This semester, my fellow teammates and I have been tasked with writing a legal memorandum about police accountability. Specifically, I have researched whether police accountability is better served by internal affairs or independent oversight. As suggested by their names, internal affairs regard accountability measures conducted by the police force toward its own officers, while independent oversight regards accountability measures conducted by organizations or individuals independent of the police force.

The toughest part of this project has also been a blessing. Early on during the research process as I was acquainting myself with internal affairs and independent oversight, I quickly became overwhelmed with an abundance of resources. At first I could not wrap my mind around each concept simply because so many individuals and organizations have written on both internal affairs and independent oversight. Though my brain was engulfed with information, it is always better to have a wealth of available sources rather than a scarcity. This temporary obstacle ultimately taught me key legal skill sets such as distilling information and determining which sources are most authoritative.

Despite struggling to balance class work with extra-curricular activities and student staff obligations, it is an honor to remain grounded through this project. I am reminded daily that there are real-life crises in the world even when studying for a mid-term examination demands my attention as if it is more significant. Issues of safeguarding citizens from corruption and holding the police accountable will not be resolved overnight. Still, I know my team’s legal memorandum will aid IJM to positively impact developing countries.