Check it Out: The Reckoning – The Battle for the ICC

In 1998 more than 100 nations came together to form the International Criminal Court, the first permanent court created to prosecute perpetrators (no matter their positions) of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. The Reckoning follows prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo as he issues arrest warrants for the rebel leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, puts four Congolese warlords on trial in The Hague, charges the president of Sudan with genocide and war crimes in Darfur, challenges the UN Security Council to have him arrested, and shakes up the Colombian criminal justice system. Whether you are interested in human rights, international law, or would just like to see how the ICC works, check out The Reckoning from the law library.

Check it Out: The Amistad Revolt


This documentary is the history of the 1839 Amistad Revolt and the ensuing campaign to free the Africans jailed for murder and piracy. Amistad was a Spanish ship sailing to Cuba with 53 captive Africans aboard who captured the ship and demanded to be returned to their country. Instead of being returned to their home, the Africans were taken prisoner and jailed. The incident effected the U.S. Supreme Court’s first civil rights case, U.S. v. The Schooner Amistad, which resulted in the freedom of the captive Mendi and their eventual return to their homeland. Check out The Amistad Revolt from the law library.

Check it Out: Justice for Sale

Justice for Sale follows a courageous Congolese human rights lawyer Claudine Tsongo in her struggle against injustice and widespread impunity in the Congo. In Claudine’s journey to obtain justice, she uncovers a system where the basic principles of law are virtually ignored. The documentary not only provides a glimpse into the failings of the Congolese judicial system, but also examines how justice may be for sale as the international community and NGOs offer financial support to the Congolese judicial system. Check out Justice for Sale from the law library.

Check it Out: Invoking Justice

In Southern India, family disputes are settled by Jamaats, all male bodies which apply Islamic Sharia law to cases without allowing women to be present, even to defend themselves. To solve this fundamental inequity, a group of women in 2004 established a women’s Jamaat, which soon became a network of 12,000 members spread over 12 districts. Despite enormous resistance, they have been able to settle more than 8,000 cases to date, ranging from divorce to wife beating to brutal murders and more. Check out Invoking Justice from the law library.

Check it Out: Quest for Honor

This documentary, Quest for Honor, investigates the practice of honor killing of women by male relatives for actions deemed dishonorable to their families in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The film follows Runak Faranj, a former teacher and activist, as she works with local lawmen, journalists and members of the Kurdish Regional Government to solve the murder of a widowed young mother, protect the victim of a safe-house shooting, eradicate honor killing and redefine honor. Check out Quest for Honor from the law library.

Check it Out: Women, War & Peace

This PBS mini-series challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain, and reveals the central role of women in the quest for peace and justice in modern warfare. Narrated by Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard, this mini-series is the most wide-ranging global-media initiative ever produced on the roles of women in war and peace. Check out Women, War & Peace from the law library.

Today in Legal History: Human Rights Day

On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The UDHR’s broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights are not binding; however, the document has inspired the human rights laws and treaties which constitute an international standard of human rights. The UDHR was created to serve as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations,” and was the first universal document to state that all humans have certain inalienable rights. Human Rights Day was formally observed after the Assembly passed the resolution 423 (V) in 1950, which invited all nations and interested parties to observe December 10th as Human Rights Day.

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Kiobel Decided by U.S. Supreme Court

In what may be a landmark opinion in U.S. human rights practice, the Supreme Court held that conduct occurring on foreign territory will not be the subject of litigation under the Alien Tort Claims Statute. The court invoked the “presumption against extraterritoriality” in arriving at its opinion. Read an analysis by Prof. Curtis A. Bradley in this ASIL Insight.

Check it Out: Proteus

ProteusSet in 18th century South Africa, Proteus is a fictionalized account of the interracial gay love story of two men incarcerated on the infamous South African Robin Island. One is a black prisoner, Claas Blank, and the other a Dutch sailor, Rijkhaart Jacobsz. Both men were charged and placed on trial for sodomy. The film explores both the theme of racism and the theme of homophobia, and how they are still present today.

Check it Out: A Dry White Season

Ben du Toit (Donald Sutherland), a caucasian teacher in South Africa, has never had to face the atrocities of apartheid until his black gardener’s son is beaten and taken into custody by the police. When the gardener’s son disappears, Ben starts asking questions, and finds that his own society is built on prejudice and exploitation. Check out A Dry White Season from the law library.