"[The Prosecutors] is crucial to individuals and groups as members of the international community. " (A former judge of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.)


Why this film?

Rape, sexual slavery, and other abuses have been seen as collateral damage to the main event of “war” .

The Prosecutors was conceived out of a desire to demonstrate the viability of rule of law as a fundamental support for a sustainable civil (and civilian-based) society, even when applied to the most difficult of crimes in circumstances when the most basic boundaries of civilized co-existence have been abrogated.

Modern human society has had an indescribably complicated relationship with sexuality and globally a great deal of difficulty in deciding what is a criminal sexual act. Even when a legal consensus is reached, there has been an even greater deal of difficulty with the implementation of the legal framework for sexual violence. For centuries, these problems have been vastly compounded during periods of conflict. Rape, sexual slavery, and other abuses have been seen as collateral damage to the main event of “war” and when it has been time to make peace there often has been both the assumption of and granting of impunity.

However, this is not always the case. There is a history of legal precedent to decouple sexual violence from war and there is now a formalized international legal framework that can be used at many levels to end impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict if we, as a society, choose to do so.

Luckily, many people have. But it isn’t easy and it needs support.
That’s why we are making THE PROSECUTORS. 

 


What are we planning to do? 

Our goal is to highlight the institutions that have been created, the challenges that they face, and ultimately, the potential for victims to see justice.

 UN Observation post, border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, the edge of the Bihac pocket where violent fighting included significant instances of sexual violence. Photo: Jared Moossy

UN Observation post, border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, the edge of the Bihac pocket where violent fighting included significant instances of sexual violence. Photo: Jared Moossy

The global implementation of UN Resolution 1820 and the laws that govern sexual violence in conflict has been difficult, uneven, and often frustrating. Cases can be slow, expensive, and the results can be disappointing for those who risk their lives to come forward and testify.

However, the framework has grown and there is now a legal network from conflict and post-conflict zones to the International Criminal Court. Additionally, there are now movements in many parts of the world to take the laws and implement them where crimes have been committed so that survivors can participate locally in justice.

By focusing our film in three countries working on national implementation of these laws, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Colombia, our goal is to highlight the institutions that have been created, the challenges that they face, and ultimately, the potential for victims to see justice.

It is our contention that with perseverance there will be a global understanding that sexual violence will not be tolerated as a by-product of war and that combatants will expect that perpetrators of these crimes will be prosecuted. Additionally, it is our goal to demonstrate to victims that their experiences are respected by society and that there is will to apply the rule of law to all situations – even those that are most difficult.


How will we do it?

Our goal is to build support for the rights of those impacted by sexual violence in conflict to access justice. To do this, we will provide an unflinching and close up view of the structures that must be supported to enforce those rights.

 Jasmin Mesic, Proscutor, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Jared Moossy

Jasmin Mesic, Proscutor, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Jared Moossy

The film will focus on three prosecutors fighting for justice in the names of their clients. We will follow them through many aspects of their lives so that the audience may understand the realities of this work. As the goal is to build support for victim’s rights by demonstrating the viability of achieving them it is important that we provide a close up view of the structures that must be supported to enforce those rights.

By contrasting the experiences in these three countries we will illustrate a range of challenges and opportunities that the global community is facing – and myriad instances for enhanced support. We will definitely see failures, areas that do not work and are not going to, and we are expecting to see successes, dedicated people who have given their lives to see the implementation of the rule of law – and probably much in between.