Rwanda, the Hills Speak

Bernard Bellefroid
Belgium 2005 | 50 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU
Q&A with:
Bernard Bellefroid

Rwanda, eleven years after the Tutsi geno­cide – The pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment has imple­ment­ed an extra­or­di­nary law enforce­ment pro­ce­dure, the Gacaca-courts, in order to bring per­sons accused of crimes against human­i­ty to jus­tice. Those who con­fess can count on mit­i­ga­tion of pun­ish­ment; how­ev­er, the courts only acknowl­edge a con­fes­sion if it is honest and truth­ful and if the per­pe­tra­tor shows repen­tance and penance and offi­cial­ly apol­o­gizes to the vic­tims’ family. In a doc­u­men­ta­tion of three cases, the film observes the effects of this ini­tia­tive. For the first cul­prit, the apol­o­gy is a cyn­i­cal strat­e­gy to obtain free­dom; the second feels no remorse either. Only the third figure, Fran­cois, who was forced to kill his broth­er in order to sur­vive, is keen on rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. In this impres­sive doc­u­men­tary, Bernard Belle­froid poses the uni­ver­sal ques­tions of guilt and atone­ment: Can the plea for for­give­ness lead to a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion between victim and per­pe­tra­tor? Can a man who has killed other men, find the way back into soci­ety if he con­fess­es his crime, offers pen­tance and pleads for forgiveness?