The Reckoning


The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court

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Two men walk through long grass on an African plain. One pauses and, his face expressionless, points at an object on the ground. The other bends to pick it up. He turns it over in his hands then holds it out. It is a human skull. “In this place,” says an onlooker who has joined them, “killers go unpunished.” The opening scene in The Reckoning is a deft and deceptively restrained moment that captures the rationale behind the International Criminal Court, an unprecedented effort to establish a permanent international institution for prosecuting crimes against humanity. This documentary follows ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, Senior Trial Attorney Christine Chung and Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s efforts to prosecute the criminals most likely to get away with horrific crimes, whether in the Congo, Uganda, Colombia or Darfur. The ICC’s targets are not the foot soldiers who committed the atrocities, but rather the leaders who issued the orders. This is a daunting task for an organization that has no police force and must depend on its member states to honor arrest warrants. Through accounts offered by victims, ICC lawyers and advocates and at least one active opponent of the ICC—former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is given a moment to weigh in—director Pamela Yates has created a fascinating and often heartening account of the pursuit of justice and its effect, direct and indirect, on murderers who formerly believed they could act with impunity.

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