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The Reckoning

The Battle for the International Criminal Court

About This Project

Late in the 20th century, in response to repeated mass atrocities that convulsed the world, more than 120 countries united to form the International Criminal Court (ICC)—the first permanent, independent (treaty based) international criminal court created to prosecute perpetrators (no matter how powerful) of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court follows dynamic ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and his team for 3 years across 4 continents as he issues arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, shakes up the Colombian justice system, and charges Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur, challenging the UN Security Council to arrest him. Building cases against genocidal criminals presents huge challenges, and the Prosecutor has a justice mandate but no police force. At every turn, he must pressure the international community to muster political will for the cause.

Like a deft thriller, The Reckoning keeps you on the edge of your seat, in this case with two riveting dramas—the prosecution of unspeakable crimes and the ICC’s fight for efficacy in its nascent years. As this tiny court in The Hague struggles to change the world and forge a new paradigm for justice, the forces of impunity fight back. Will the Prosecutor succeed? Will the world ensure that justice prevails?

Related Shorts

Law or War: The Creation of the International Criminal Court

The 15-minute film module Law or War: The Creation of the International Criminal Court explores the creation of the first permanent international court in history created to investigate and prosecute individual perpetrators, no matter how powerful, for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Seeking Peace and Seeking Justice: The ICC & Uganda

The 16-minute film module Seeking Peace and Seeking Justice: The ICC and Uganda explores how the ICC’s involvement in Uganda has sparked conversation and action throughout Ugandan society. For example, in the bush, LRA leaders have used the arrest warrants as a bargaining chip in peace negotiations; in displaced persons’ camps, Ugandans are debating the merits of the ICC versus traditional justice mechanisms; at a national level, the government of Uganda is restructuring its own judicial system.

International Law, Testing the Limits: The ICC & Darfur

In recent years, charges of genocide have been leveled against the government of Sudan for violent attacks on Darfuris. In 2005, the United Nations Security Council asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate these charges. The 13-minute film module International Law, Testing the Limits: The ICC and Darfur tells the story of the ICC’s investigation in Darfur led by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor for the ICC.

Release date

Jan 19, 2009

Running time



Pamela Yates, Director
Peter Kinoy, Editor
Paco de Onís, Producer
Marcus Bleasdale, Photographer


International Center for Transitional Justice
Facing History and Ourselves

The Battle for the International Criminal

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