The Appeal of Joseph M focuses on the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and on the case of a genocide suspect in particular, and his role in massacres committed during the genocide.
The film offers a rare opportunity to see the inside work of the appeals court in the Netherlands, as its judges try to establish if Joseph M was responsible for war crimes that took place in 1994 in a country as far away from them as Rwanda. The lead prosecutor and the investigator in charge of the case recount their experiences in carrying out investigations in Europe and on the ground in Rwanda. The film includes exclusive images inside the court of two survivors as they are making statements before the judges.
Joseph M, a businessman from Mugonero, Rwanda, was convicted of torture in 2009 and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, but both he and the prosecutor appealed that ruling. Last July, a Dutch appeals court sentenced him to life imprisonment on war crimes, after the Court established that he was guilty of additional crimes, such as leading an attack on an Adventist compound in which hundreds of Tutsi refugees were butchered.
The appeals court considered the facts of the case to be among the most serious crimes judged by a Dutch criminal court since the Second World War.
A film by Fiona Lloyd-Davies at Studio 9 Films.