Sunday, April 10, 2011

DIFF review PROSECUTOR- She said

Directed by Barry Stevens
Featuring: Luis Moreno-Ocampo

The International Criminal Court has only been in existence for about ten years.  It's charged with bringing people to justice who commit genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and/or crimes of aggression when the country's national court is unable or unwilling to prosecute, just as it's predecessor, The Nuremberg Trials, did.   Currently, there are three separate trials underway; all having to do with crimes committed in Africa.  Behind these investigations is Luis Moreno-Ocampo, head prosecutor for the ICC.

At the heart of the ICC is Moreno-Ocampo who wholeheartedly believes in justice and the rule of law.  However, the problem he is facing with the nations is the ICC doesn't have an army, so when a leader or criminal is indited by the ICC, they have to rely on neighboring countries to arrest the criminal.  Like the United Nations, the idea of the ICC is appears more idyllic than the actual process.  For the ICC to work, the nations of the world would have to give up some sovereignty, so when crimes against humanity are committed, the perpetrators go straight to trial.  However, asking the big wigs like China, Russia, India and the United States to give that kind of power to a court they don't control will probably never happen.  Also, the prosecutor has to convince the people that bringing this criminal to trial is the right decision.  The three individuals who are standing trial right now all come from war-torn African countries where many citizens are pleased justice is being brought, but many still support these individuals, and usually the supporters have weapons and take out their frustration on the people. All in a day's work for Moreno-Ocampo.

So, his job isn't easy, yet his persistence for justice is astounding.  Even though he is defending humanity, he is met with criticism after criticism.  There are leaders who say the ICC is targeting African countries because they're not western enough, and this is the international community's way of making them fall into step.  Others want him to investigate the Gaza Strip area where hundreds of Palestinians were killed by Israelis because of a Hamas attack on Israel.  One problem though, Palestine isn't considered a state as far as the world is labeled, but the atrocity happened.  So, now there's international pressure to bring Israel to trial, and international pressure, especially from the United States, to leave them alone.  Then, there's the criticism that the ICC would never go after the bigger countries, such as the United States because the ICC is scared of them.  Moreno-Ocampo has stated that it doesn't matter what country; the ICC would investigate anybody.

Director Barry Stevens is given incredible glimpses of remote areas of the world.  We following Moreno-Ocampo to the Congo where he talks to tribe about an upcoming trial gathering their support.  We also follow Mike, a former ICC employee who left because he felt that he needed to make a difference and the ICC wasn't powerful enough, as he tries to free military personnel (from the good side of the Congo war) from the rebels in the jungle.  Mike, who is now employed through the UN, is the symbol of being able to take action to make a difference. 

If you were to ask someone about the idea of having an international court of law, I would predict many would agree with the idea.  Then, if you were going to go into detail about what that would mean to their country, such as giving up part of their sovereignty, then people become hesitant.  The idea of the ICC, on the surface, is one of striving of equality, justice, and standing up for the voiceless victims.  However, the road to such an idyllic court is arduous and a political nightmare.  PROSECUTOR shows us the other side, with faces beyond all the politics and policies. 

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