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Film Selection: Law & Justice


Into the Abyss - A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life

Director: Werner Herzog

Year: 2011

Country: UK, USA, Germany

Length: 105 min

In his fascinating exploration of a triple homicide case in Conroe, Texas, master filmmaker Werner Herzog probes the human psyche to explore why people kill-and why a state kills. In intimate conversations with those involved, including 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry (scheduled to die within eight days of appearing on-screen), Herzog achieves what he describes as "a gaze into the abyss of the human soul." Herzog's inquiries also extend to the families of the victims and perpetrators as well as a state executioner and pastor who've been with death row prisoners as they've taken their final breaths. As he's so often done before, Herzog's investigation unveils layers of humanity, making an enlightening trip out of ominous territory.

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Granito - How to Nail a Dictator

Director: Peter Kinoy, Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís

Year: 2011

Country: USA, Guatemala, Spain

Length: 103 min

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, and how a documentary film intertwined with a nation’s turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present. In Granito our characters sift for clues buried in archives of mind and place and historical memory, seeking to uncover a narrative that could unlock the past and settle matters of life and death in the present. Each of the five main characters whose destinies collide in Granito are connected by Guatemala’s past.  In 1982, Guatemala was engulfed in an armed conflict during which a genocidal “scorched earth” campaign by the military killed nearly 200,000 Maya people including 45,000 disappeared. Now, as if a watchful Maya god were weaving back together threads of a story unraveled by the passage of time, forgotten by most, our characters become integral to the overarching narrative of wrongs done and justice sought that they have pieced together, each adding their granito, their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale.

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Carte Blanche

Director: Heidi Specogna

Year: 2011

Country: Switzerland, Germany

Length: 91 min

They don’t wear uniforms or carry weapons; they have no bodyguards. Yet their missions take them to the most dangerous places on Earth. As investigators of the International Criminal Court they painstakingly gather evidence against those responsible for some of the most serious crimes committed in our time: in Darfur, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and – as the least known spot on the map of core crimes – in the Central African Republic.

In 2002, a wave of violence shook the Central African Republic. Militant rebels from neighboring Congo received carte blanche from their leader Jean-Pierre Bemba to kill, rape and pillage. The film „Carte Blanche” follows the investigators of the first permanent international court into the heart of Africa. Eight years after the violence, justice shall be done. And Jean-Pierre Bemba – as one of the first commanders being prosecuted before an international tribunal for his command responsibility for systematic rape – is to be put on trial.

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Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Director: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Year: 2011

Country: USA

Length: 121 min

HBO Documentary Films’ PARADISE LOST 3:  PURGATORY, the conclusion of the award-winning trilogy that spawned a world-wide movement to free three convicted men – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley – known as The West Memphis 3, tells the complete story of one of the most notorious child murder cases in U.S. history.  Provocative and timely, the film chronicles stunning new developments, culminating in the startling and unexpected conclusion just a few months ago, when Echols, who was on death row, and Baldwin and Misskelley, who were serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, were finally freed from prison after more than 18 years.




Director: Barry Stevens

Year: 2010

Country: Canada

Length: 95 min

The International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo has one of the toughest jobs in the world. To victims of atrocities, he’s a hero. To his critics from the Right and the Left, he’s threatening stability and peace. The world’s most powerful nations, including the United States, refuse to join the Court.

A fascinating story with extraordinary behind-the-scenes access, PROSECUTOR follows every move of this flawed yet charismatic champion of human rights as the ICC begins its first trials. Moreno-Ocampo travels to the world’s most violent countries to investigate and prosecute those accused of brutal crimes against humanity. Not shy of controversy, the Prosecutor boldly issues a warrant for the arrest of a sitting head of state, Sudanese President Al-Bashir. But with no police force of his own, Moreno-Ocampo must rely on nation-states to enforce his law.

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The Reckoning - The Battle for the International Criminal Court

Director: Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís

Year: 2009

Country: USA

Length: 96 min

Late in the 20th century, in response to repeated mass atrocities that convulsed the world, more than 120 countries united to form the International Criminal Court (ICC)—the first permanent, independent (treaty based) international criminal court created to prosecute perpetrators (no matter how powerful) of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court follows dynamic ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and his team for 3 years across 4 continents as he issues arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, shakes up the Colombian justice system, and charges Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur, challenging the UN Security Council to arrest him. Building cases against genocidal criminals presents huge challenges, and the Prosecutor has a justice mandate but no police force. At every turn, he must pressure the international community to muster political will for the cause.

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The Dictator Hunter

Director:  Klaartje Quirijns

Year: 2007

Country: Netherlands

Length: 75 min

“If you kill one person, you go to jail. If you kill 40 people, they put you in an insane asylum. But if you kill 40, 000 people, you get a comfortable exile with a bank account in another country, and that’s what we want to change here,”
Reed Brody, Human Rights Watch

He hunts dictators for a living as a lawyer for Human Rights Watch. For seven years, Brody has been chasing one former dictator in particular: Hissène Habré, the former leader of Chad, who is charged with killing thousands of his own countrymen in the 1980s. Now Habré lives in Senegal where Brody is attempting to have him brought to trial or extradited.

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