Based on the 2,000 hours of tape from the court proceedings and an additional 250 hours of exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, the film provides an overview of the four year long trial of former president Slobodan Milosevic before the international tribunal in the Hague. The case was controversial from the beginning, Milosevic being the first sitting head of state to be indicted by an international court. The trial itself proved dramatic when Milosevic refused to be represented by counsel and later died in prison shortly before the conclusion of the trial. Through the juxtaposition of the trial proceedings with location footage from the former Yugoslavia and interviews with the people involved with the case, most notably prosecutor Geoffrey Nice and Milosevic-loyal lawyer Dragoslav Ognjanovic, the film offers a rare background view of the case.Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
An accessible and engaging account of the trial that uses court footage and contributions really well
During the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, Slobodan Milosevic was President in Serbia. During these wars 250000 people were killed and more than 3 million fled. In 2001 Milosevic was charged by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for 66 counts including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The trial lasted for four years and was the longest war crimes trial in modern history.
Based on 2000 hours of tribunal footage, this film does an impressive job of delivering so much material in less than two hours but never making me feel like I was missing something or having everything simplified to a point where it was without value. The footage is really well edited together and makes the film flow in this way without ever getting sucked down into the detail but still making you feel like you have seen a good section of the trial (which of course we haven't!). The reason this works is that the footage is well supported by footage and interviews shot around the trial while it was ongoing, particularly with the prosecution legal team. We all know where the trial ended up of course but yet this is still engaging and interesting throughout.
Quite what the message of the rather downbeat affair is I'm not sure but as a document on the trial, the film is an accessible and brisk account that provides plenty to inform without ever lingering on the detail or making the film reflect the fact that the case dragged on for as long as it did. Understandably a documentary with limited appeal, nonetheless it is interesting and an important record that can be watched without wading through four years of court records.
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