This panel event will explore both the role of art in transitional justice and the depiction of transitional justice through art. We are delighted to welcome Leslie Thomas, the director and producer of the feature length documentary The Prosecutors; Bernadette Vivuya, a visual journalist and filmmaker; and Nadia Siddiqui, co-director at Social Inquiry, as our panellists for the seminar. The event is co-organised with the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict.
The Prosecutors - Synopsis
“Rape and pillage” are concepts as old as war itself. Certainly, war carries with it the idea of gathering the spoils found by those who stand victorious on the battlefield. But sexual violence is a war crime, not collateral damage, and it must be confronted. However, the risks and sacrifices involved in ensuring that the legal system provides justice for everyone run deep. The Prosecutors is a feature length documentary that tells the story of three dedicated lawyers who fight to ensure that rape in war is not met with impunity. Filmed over five years on three continents, it takes viewers from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Bosnia and Herzegovina to Colombia on the long journey towards justice.
For there to be peace, there must be justice.
— Amani Kahatwa, Lawyer, Democratic Republic of Congo
Leslie Thomas is the founder of ART WORKS Projects, an Emmy-award winning art director, architect, and mother. Current projects include directing The Prosecutors, curating a touring exhibition on ending female genital mutilation for the United Nations, and co-editing a book of photography on the impact of war on children in Syria. She is in pre-production on a narrative feature on women’s rights and in development on a film about the movement for Irish independence. Her multi-media human rights focused work has toured across five continents in major policy, academic, and cultural settings and been the recipient of grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, the MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the International Labour Organization, and many other major philanthropic institutions. Leslie is a graduate of Columbia University and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
Bernadette Vivuya is a visual journalist and filmmaker based in Goma, Eastern DRC. She is an alumnus in “Social justice photography: Decomposing the colonial gaze” led by Yole! Africa. She reports on issues related to human rights, the environment and the exploitation of raw materials, bearing witness to the resilience and transcendence of the people in this conflict-affected region. She most recently directed the short documentary 'Letter to my Child from Rape', which brings to the screen the powerful words of poet-advocate Désanges Kabuo as she braves prejudice to claim a future for the child she bore as a result of sexual violence.
Nadia Siddiqui is a cross-disciplinary researcher and writer interested in the links between cultural practice, social dynamics, and justice. As a co-director at Social Inquiry, she leads research exploring identities and belonging in displacement (and return), measuring social cohesion, and understanding what reconciliation and accountability mean to communities. She has previously worked with Oxfam, the Middle East Research Institute, the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the Applied Theatre Collective, and the International Center for Transitional Justice, among others. Nadia has also helped produce art/design events in New York City that have garnered national and international attention. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and an MSc. in Evidence-Based Social Interventions from the University of Oxford.