Just an unnervingly short time ago, Europe was shocked by appalling images of the concentration camps and mass graves in former Yugoslavia. The Bosnian War cost the lives of around 100,000 innocent people. In 2012, almost exactly 20 years after that bloody conflict started, the trial began of the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladić at the Yugoslavia tribunal in The Hague. The crimes he was accused of included leading the siege of Sarajevo and murdering 7,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica.
Filmmakers Rob Miller and Henry Singer shed light on the war from two angles, by on the one hand speaking to the public prosecutors and visiting victims and witnesses, and on the other interviewing Mladić’s lawyers, supporters and family members, who consider him a patriotic hero. In addition to telling the stories of victims and witnesses, the film raises questions about the international tribunal itself—is it possible to achieve justice through a five-year trial if it won’t bring back the dead and the accused refuses to even acknowledge the verdict? Shocking, potent images in archive news footage remind us of the absurd and gratuitous cruelty meted out in this dirty war, whose battles are still not over.