The Uncondemned,” a film about the first prosecution of rape as a war crime, saw its theatrical release over the week-end in New York City, where it will play through October 27, at the Sunshine Cinema, SoHo.  The film, which will play in some 30 major markets through the end of the year, opened to rave reviews in the New York Times,The Village Voice, and the New York Daily News. Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel co-directed the film.

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Witnesses JJ, NN, OO, and Godeliève Mukasarasi at the UN Special Screening on Wednesday

A feature-length documentary, “The Uncondemned” tells the story of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s (ICTR) prosecution of Mayor Jean-Paul Akayesu for crimes against humanity and acts of genocide, both including acts of sexual assault against residents of Taba commune, which he governed.  The film actually interweaves two stories.  One is that of the Taba rape survivors—until now known as JJ, NN, and OO—and the social worker and founder of SEVOTA, Godeliève Mukasarasi, who encouraged and empowered them to participate in the prosecution.  The other story is that of the team of young lawyers who worked on the case, including trial counsel Pierre-Richard Prosper (now with Akin Gump) and Sara Darehshori (now with Human Rights Watch, working on issues of sexual assault in the United States).  Also appearing in the film are Patricia Sellers, gender advisor to ICTR and ICTFY at the time the Akayesu case was investigated and tried, Rosette Muzigo-Morrison, a UN investigator from Uganda, and Binaifer Nowrojee, who from her position with Human Rights Watch in East Africa wroteShattered Lives, a report on Sexual Violence during the Rwandan genocide and campaigned for the prosecution of rape as a war crime.  My own work as gender consultant at ICTR—twenty years ago this fall—is also featured in the film.

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