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Cinema for Peace Berlin
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Lighting of the World Peace Flame
Cinema for Peace
Special Award for Opposing Anti-Semitism
Ai Weiwei Konzerthaus installation
Ai Weiwei Konzerthaus installation
You are here: Home / The ICC's Strongest Verdict for Warlord Bemba

The ICC's Strongest Verdict for Warlord Bemba

The Hague - A landmark decision by the ICC: Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo has been sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment for war crimes and sexual violence. The ex-leader of DR Congo rebel forces is held accountable for failing to prevent his private militia from extensive and systematic murdering and pillaging, with evidence of these crimes presented in turn by chief prosecutors Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Fatou Bensouda. Bemba led the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) – his rebel group were active participants of brutal civil war in DR Congo, which ended in 2003.


headder.jpgMurder, pillage and rape are undeniably common features of warfare, and yet it is only recently that such acts are beginning to be acknowledged as criminal during the trials of war criminals. Angelina Jolie, as a former UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, has been outspoken regarding the need for the world’s governing bodies to identify sexual violence as a war crime, and visited Goma in DRC in March 2013. Jolie previously launched the global Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative – following her film In the Land of Blood and Honey, a film which highlighted rape as a weapon of war in the Bosnian context, and a press workshop with Cinema for Peace and the ICC. The ICC has been a partner of Cinema for Peace since 2008, and presents the International Award for Justice at the annual Gala in Berlin. Jolie’s initiative continues to fight against sexual violence as an historically unsanctioned, and yet painfully prevalent, device of war. As Jolie has observed: "There is a lot of understanding of what's right and wrong, but there is a disconnect. So if we can try to put the pieces together and fill the holes, then maybe there can be a real change".



Beasts of No Nation In the Land of Blood and Honey


Virunga Watchers of the Sky


Benjamin Ferencz Interview


World Refugee Day



Berlin - World Refugee Day 2016 threw a stark light on the continuance of this international crisis, with people around the world expressing their solidarity through the hashtag #WithRefugees – a trend straight from the UNHCR. To be submitted on September 19th, the petition demands that the governments of the world take responsibility for the survival of those unable to live in safety in their original context; that they ensure that each refugee child receives an education, each refugee family can live in a safe place, and every refugee has the opportunity to work or to learn a trade in order to make a positive contribution to society.

Angelina Jolie highlighted this in her speech at the US Department of State in Washington DC on Monday 20th, further identifying “rising intolerance and xenophobia” as a rising bi-product of the current crisis, and calling for solutions strengthened through leadership.

Cinema for Peace has started the Cinema for Refugees screening series, bringing joy and education to children in crisis areas within the EU, Turkey and also Syria. On World Refugee Day, Cinema for Peace hosted a screening of the Cinema for Peace Refugee Award Winner “A Syrian Love Story”. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with experts and refugees.



A Syrian Love Story Fire at Sea




"By sitting in and sitting down, we're standing up."



Will the U.S. Senate and Congress stop the death toll of U.S. citizens from being ten times higher than in other countries?


Orlando – In light of the shooting in Orlando; Cinema for Peace will hold a screening of Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. Moore has been outspoken about that fact that a ‘culture of fear and ignorance’ leads to gun crime. Cinema for Peace will also screen Memories of a Penitent Heart in cooperation with the Enzian Theater & Florida Film Festival on July 3rd. The film explores the AIDS crisis through the rarely heard stories of Latino artists who died in the early days of the epidemic.

Just this week the Democratic and Republican parties made further movements towards change: on Monday, four separate gun restriction measures were presented before the Senate - including amendments to the federal background check systems, and proposals to prohibit firearms sales to those on the FBI terror watch list. The Senate failed to pass any of the proposed measures - to the dismay of Orlando victim family members present - but Republican Senator Susan Collins has announced measures of a more compromising nature, through bipartisan legislation: the ‘Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act of 2016’, citing the recent tragedies as a sign of the need for compromise. On Wednesday 22nd, the Democrats took over the House floor in an attempt to force votes on gun control, remaining for more than 16 hours until the House Republicans managed to end the session through adjournment until July 5th. Congressman John Lewis, prominent activist during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and a key member of the sit-in, stated: “By sitting in and sitting down, we’re standing up”.

The myth of natural born killers: in reality the killer in Orlando was a self-trained first-person shooter

The right to bear arms is written deep into the notorious Second Amendment, and also into the American psyche. In 2015 it was estimated around 40% of American households have at least one gun, totalling approximately 300 million firearms. The entrenched opposites of gun policy opinion in the country are echoed by the rift between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Pro-firearm Trump sees the problem of mass executions as lying solely with shooters’ motivations. He tweeted after the event: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism”. Trump has previously blamed shootings on mental health issues, claiming gun-free zones are “bait” and that some teachers should have guns in classrooms. Clinton, on the other hand, accompanied by Bernie Sanders, follows in the wake of Obama in having a fiercely anti-gun stance. Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by guns than any other developed nation.




It is important for us to ask what other reasons there could have been for such a violent outburst. It seems that the very natural and fundamental human status which inhibits us from violence against our fellow man is being eroded, just as it is in times of war. The prevalent rhetoric in Western society is one of division, separation, anger and fear, being propagated by popular figures like Donald Trump. Moreover, killing and violence bleeds into our everyday culture; in the media, in video games, in movies. As for Mateen, he was not a disturbed jihadist returning from a bloody war. He was a homegrown terrorist, an American, someone’s neighbour. But he was spurred by the confrontational climate in America, by radical delusions drawn from a perverse understanding of Islam and from his own lack of inhibition to commit murder.  But his social background is just one side of the coin. The other side is the law. Why was an individual like Mateen legally able to purchase “weapons of war” over the counter? Why should any society striving to protect is citizens, allow such brutal weaponry to be legally sold? Where is gun control? Where is the push and demand for an outright ban on the free sale of firearms? Time and time again, America has played witness to horrific ‘lone-wolf’ shootings, and yet has failed to act accordingly by reforming the law.  Also, we have to ask ourselves why our society does not reflect upon its obsession with violence that thrives in our culture. Is it a modern case of “bread and games” as in Ancient Rome, where we are all too easily distracted and entertained by the never-ending supply of brutality in the media, in bloody video games and films? The US military openly uses first-person shooting games to chip away at the inhibition to kill in their soldiers - as Corey Mead has explored in his 2013 study War Games. This practice - as part of the military’s programme for desensitization - is also outlined in volume 3 of the Encyclopaedia of Violence, Peace, & Conflict (1999). Mateen was pictured eagerly engaging in a first-person shooter video game with his son. Have we unwittingly created  a culture which produces killers like Mateen? If we have, what must we do to counter it?


Shell Shocked We Need to talk about Kevin


Bowling for Columbine

Ai Weiwei for Cinema for Peace

Ai Weiwei's 'Safe Passage' installation with life-vests from Lesbos for Cinema for Peace.


Upcoming Screenings:


August 13th 2018, at the Schikaneder Kino in Vienna / Address: Margaretenstraße 24, A - 1040 Wien