The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has its own Public Information Officer (PIO). The PIO deals with external media relations and liaises with external actors interested in the work of the Prosecutor. The PIO is also responsible for relations with filmmakers who wish to make documentaries on the work of the OTP. During the first ten years of the Court and under the former Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo a number of documentaries have been made which required participation of the OTP. The Reckoning mentioned in an earlier post involved a film crew following Moreno Campo around for three years. Other films which will be covered soon include The Prosecutor, a film by Peter Raymont focusing on Moreno Ocampo, Darfur Now (2007) and Carte Blanche (2011).
Carte Blanche, a film by Heidi Specogna, is set in the locations of the Hague, the Netherlands and Bangui, Central African Republic. The film examines the work of the ICC and Office of the Prosecutor concerning the Jean Pierre Bemba case. Bemba, the former Vice President of the DRC and leader of the Congo Liberation Movement is currently on trial in the ICC on 8 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during 2002/2003 in the CAR.
The film takes us through the confirmation hearings (the purpose of which is to act as a filter distinguishing case which should or should not go to trial depending on whether there is sufficient evidence) set in the Hague. It also takes us to Bangui, on mission with Gloria Atiba Davies, the victims expert and Dr Eric Baccard, the forensic pathologist. In this way, we are given a more holistic snapshot of the workings of the Prosecution. The trial stage thus plays a minor part in the film with investigations the main focus.
The filmmakers also interview some of the witnesses and survivors of the attacks on Bangui, with special focus on the sexual violence and rapes suffered by men, women and girls. Bemba is charged with these acts as both war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Aesthetically, the film is pleasing, with beautiful landscape shots interspersed with black and white photographs of the victims. Water and the rain also play important roles in the beginning and end of the documentary.
Worth watching. The official film site can be accessed here.