Theatre of Violence

Lukasz Konopa, Emil Langballe

Sharp and flamboyant lawyer Krispus Ayena leading the way in a fascinating, complex examination of the essence of justice. Ayena defends Dominic Ongwen before the International Criminal Court. Ongwen is a former commander in Joseph Kony's Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army. But Ongwen was himself kidnapped and brainwashed by that same army when he was only 9, and so the question arises: is he a perpetrator or a victim after all?
At nine years old Dominic Ongwen was abducted by Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Christian cult led by Joseph Kony. The LRA terrorized Northern Uganda with large-scale killings and abductions of children, whom they brainwished and turned into child soldiers or sex slaves. Dominic's own parents were murdered, he was tortured, brainwashed and forced to kill. But now he is on trial before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Led by Ongwen’s lawyer Krispus Ayena, we go back and forth between the ICC courtroom and beautiful Northern Uganda on a quest for the true meaning of justice and punishment. We meet Joseph Kony’s wife and daughters and engage in a surreal conversation with Kony’s spiritual advisor. We also witness how Ugandan communities recover from trauma – and how that clashes with the foundations of the International Criminal Court. When does a victim transform into a perpetrator?


Lukasz Konopa, Emil Langballe
Helle Faber, Heidi Kim Andersen
Country of production
105 minutes
Spoken language
English, Swahili
Production company
Made in Copenhagen
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