School of Law film to be screened at St. Louis International Film Festival

“Never Again: Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity,” a film produced by the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, will be shown Saturday, Nov. 11, during the 26th annual St. Louis International Film Festival.

The documentary, directed by Leila Sadat, the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law and director of the Harris Institute, chronicles the steady effort to remedy a gap in international law to punish and prevent crimes against humanity.

It will be screened as part of the festival’s Human Rights Spotlight selection at 12:30 p.m., in Brown Hall Auditorium on the Danforth Campus.

Leila Sadat

The project stems from Sadat’s long-term mission of promoting the Harris Institute’s Crimes Against Humanity Initiative to a wider audience.

“I have always believed that we need a worldwide treaty for preventing these atrocities,” Sadat said. “I really wanted it to be a call to action and encourage viewers to learn about the people who are on the front lines, who started the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative and built a modern international justice system, and to learn more about the victims of atrocity crimes who we hope that a more robust legal framework will protect.”

Following World War II, an international tribunal convicted Nazi leaders of crimes against humanity — widespread, systematic atrocities committed against civilian populations, including the attempted extermination of European Jews. Today, however, the world still lacks a global treaty for the prevention and punishment of such crimes, despite their ongoing perpetration.

“I’m proud that the people who have seen our film say it has moved them,” Sadat said. “They want to do something about crimes against humanity. They get that people are suffering. And that’s one of the goals. We really want people afterward to think about the things they can do to end these crimes and to help those in need.”

“Never Again” features moving testimony from survivors of atrocity crimes, as well as interviews with international experts working on this issue, to highlight that peace is not possible without justice, and that justice will come from the perseverance of global actors dedicated to the possibility of a better world.

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