The two-week run of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival wrapped up last weekend in New York, having highlighted an impressive array of documentaries from around the world. The film ‘The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court’ and its team of filmmakers received special recognition on opening night as the featured documentary. Recognizable personalities from the film attended the opening screening as well, including the deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda, former ICC prosecutor Christine Chung, and former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz.
The Reckoning retraces the first three years of the Court, following ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo across four continents as he and his team investigate cases of mass atrocities and issue arrest warrants for individuals alleged to be responsible for orchestrating war crimes. As the film chronicles, this work takes them from the bush in eastern Congo and northern Uganda, to the Security Council at U.N. headquarters, to meetings with justice officials in Colombia, and back to the ICC’s permanent home in The Hague, Netherlands, where all the pieces come together.
After the screening of The Reckoning, I had a chance to speak with the Court’s deputy prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. Ms. Bensouda has a long-standing involvement in justice systems on both the national level in her native Gambia and internationally as a delegate to the 1998 Rome conference that established the ICC and as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She has held the post of deputy prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague since 2004.
Here are some highlights from our conversation that took place on the sidelines of the international film festival.
Mark your calendar for a public screening of The Reckoning on July 14 at 10p.m. as part of PBS’s P.O.V. documentary series.
The public screening will be part of a massive advocacy effort directed by the filmmakers to raise awareness about the International Criminal Court and compel the Obama administration to “Support the Court.” To learn more about these plans, check out ijcentral.org.
N.B.: Maggie Fick and I recently interviewed Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis, director and producer of the film. If you haven’t watched the video of the conversation, have a look here.