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Ambassador Wilma van Benthem about 'the prosecutor, the defender, his father and his son'

The recognition of the suspect Milorad Krstics by the witness K109 is crucial for the prosecution in the trial of Krstics, alledgedly a former commander of the Gvardia-militia in Bratunac region during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Krstics himself, when asked if he was there, says, yes, of course he was in Bratunac, he was born there, he worked there as a teacher, all his family was from there. It seems that Krstics will escape his sentence, that is until witness K109 (himself in custody) is being brought in as a witness for the prosecution.

Witness K109 utters severe accusations against Krstics when questioned by the prosecution; Krstics’ lawyer wants to ask a question, but is rebuffed by the chairing judge, ‘court will be in recess’. Krstics’ lawyer is not that easily to be put off, and goes on a quest in Bosnia for …. Yes, for what?

His client keeps telling him he does not know ‘the boy’ (which is how he calls the witness), who himself has said he is an orphan, has lived in seven orphanages and joined Krstics’ Gvardia, just because he liked playing soccer. But the boy is not an orphan and his family still lives in Bosnia.

Father and son, and son and father: we see them all four in this gripping movie, which is not just about the quest for justice and truth. And what is justice and what is truth in this case? All the professionals in the movie: the prosecutor, the defender, the judge, they all believe they serve justice, that what they do is good and how it should be done. The prosecutor quotes Emily Dickinson (‘if I can stop one heart from breaking … I shall not live in vain'*), the defender explains that ‘if the law would not be there to regulate relations between people, the world would be a horrible place’ and the judge assures the prosecutor ‘sentencing’ will be done.

Who is right and who is wrong, or are they all right? And what about the lives of the people who are thus caught in the wheels of justice? What if a war criminal escapes his sentence? Can justice be bought and can the truth be sold?Or is justice for sale and the truth can be bought?

As a professional in the legal business for the better part of my working life I am engaged in the quest for the truth (and thus to apply justice). After having seen this film, the question mark of what is the truth looms larger than ever.

*1 If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.

Screenings of The Prosecutor, The Defender, His Father and His Son

Sunday 20 March at 11.45 hrs
Theater aan het Spui Grote Zaal

Tuesday 22 March at 21.15 hrs
Theater aan het Spui Grote Zaal

Wednesday 23 March at 17.30 hrs
Theater aan het Spui Kleine Zaal

Thursday 24 March at 13.15 hrs
Zaal 5, Filmhuis Den Haag

 

The recognition of the suspect Milorad Krstics by the witness K109 is crucial for the prosecution in the trial of Krstics, alledgedly a former commander of the Gvardia-militia in Bratunac region during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Krstics himself, when asked if he was there, says, yes, of course he was in Bratunac, he was born there, he worked there as a teacher, all his family was from there. It seems that Krstics will escape his sentence, that is until witness K109 (himself in custody) is being brought in as a witness for the prosecution.

Witness K109 utters severe accusations against Krstics when questioned by the prosecution; Krstics’ lawyer wants to ask a question, but is rebuffed by the chairing judge, ‘court will be in recess’. Krstics’ lawyer is not that easily to be put off, and goes on a quest in Bosnia for …. Yes, for what?

His client keeps telling him he does not know ‘the boy’ (which is how he calls the witness), who himself has said he is an orphan, has lived in seven orphanages and joined Krstics’ Gvardia, just because he liked playing soccer. But the boy is not an orphan and his family still lives in Bosnia.

Father and son, and son and father: we see them all four in this gripping movie, which is not just about the quest for justice and truth. And what is justice and what is truth in this case? All the professionals in the movie: the prosecutor, the defender, the judge, they all believe they serve justice, that what they do is good and how it should be done. The prosecutor quotes Emily Dickinson (‘if I can stop one heart from breaking … I shall not live in vain'*), the defender explains that ‘if the law would not be there to regulate relations between people, the world would be a horrible place’ and the judge assures the prosecutor ‘sentencing’ will be done.

Who is right and who is wrong, or are they all right? And what about the lives of the people who are thus caught in the wheels of justice? What if a war criminal escapes his sentence? Can justice be bought and can the truth be sold?Or is justice for sale and the truth can be bought?

As a professional in the legal business for the better part of my working life I am engaged in the quest for the truth (and thus to apply justice). After having seen this film, the question mark of what is the truth looms larger than ever.

*1 If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.

Screenings of The Prosecutor, The Defender, His Father and His Son

Sunday 20 March at 11.45 hrs
Theater aan het Spui Grote Zaal

Tuesday 22 March at 21.15 hrs
Theater aan het Spui Grote Zaal

Wednesday 23 March at 17.30 hrs
Theater aan het Spui Kleine Zaal

Thursday 24 March at 13.15 hrs
Zaal 5, Filmhuis Den Haag

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ZOEKEN ALGEMEEN

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