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Documentary Review: “War & Justice”, The Relentless Pursuit For World Peace.



War & Justice,” directed by Marcus Vetter and Michele Gentile, is a gripping documentary that highlights the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its activities to fight against wars of aggression. 

This film follows the ICC’s first chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo as the key subject. But it transcends being a mere biographical account of him and his work. It provides a comprehensive look at the ICC’s role in the global quest for justice against war crimes. 

Luis Moreno-Ocampo is also the voice that leads the narrative of this film. We get to see and learn about his storied career as he shares his reflections. The film covers his journey from being the chief prosecutor in the 1985 trials of Argentine Juntas, where military officials were tried for their involvement and instigation of massive human rights violations and dictatorship. It also covers his tenure as the ICC’s first prosecutor. 

Ocampo recounts that what he thought then to be the most important moment in his life and career was only paving the way and giving him the experience and expertise to later hold this position at the ICC. 

Luis Moreno-Ocampo

His voice leads the narration in this film as he guides viewers through the complexities of international law and the relentless pursuit of justice. This makes the documentary feel both personal and profoundly impactful.

War & Justice“, however, is not solely a tribute to Ocampo and his achievements. The film also pays homage to, the youngest chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg TrialsFerencz‘s dedicated his life to combating war and this is poignantly captured in this film emphasising his belief that “the greatest war crime is war itself.” 

The film has archival footage of Ferencz in his early days but also shows him in his 90s, old and grey, but still passionately advocating for peace and justice. This important detail also enriches the film’s focus on connecting the history of international justice efforts with its present and future challenges. 

The directors also make use of real-life footage of wars from across the globe to vividly illustrate the devastation of war both on the lives of people and property. These visuals remind you that in war there are no true victors, only profound human suffering that transcends many generations.

Benjamin Ferencz & Angelina Jolie

Viewers are also given rare unprecedented glimpses of inside the walls of the ICC in The Hague, showcasing interactions and deliberations among some ICC officials. These moments give you a sense of the struggle and challenges that lead up to some of the court’s triumphs which include being able to successfully prosecute and convict war criminals. 

War & Justice” also critically examines the obstacles the ICC faces, particularly how powerful nations like China, Russia, and the United States undermine its authority. The film highlights the significant limitation of the ICC which is its inability to go after attacking states in support of the defending states because they are not under their jurisdiction. This has allowed some of the world’s most powerful countries to evade accountability for their acts of aggression.

One of the documentary’s key messages is the urgent need for the 123 member states of the ICC to amend the Rome Statute. Such amendments would enable the Court to prosecute any war of aggression, irrespective of whether the aggressor is a member state. This important call to action is the film’s central theme and message. It urges viewers to recognize the importance of strengthening international legal frameworks to prevent future atrocities.

There is no denying that “War & Justice” is a powerful and evocative documentary that not only chronicles the efforts of key figures like Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Benjamin Ferencz but also serves as a rallying cry for global action against the horrors of war. 

The film invites audiences to speak out against war and its enduring effects on generations, reinforcing the timeless message that justice and peace are inseparable. Through its compelling narrative and the use of poignant footage, “War & Justice” makes a compelling case for the indispensable role of the ICC in fostering a more just and peaceful world.  It also forces you to take cognizance of the effects of war that go beyond decades and generations.

I will score this documentary film out of 5 stars


Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

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