The Serbian Lawyer
The personal and legal ethics faced by the lawyer who defends notorious Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadžić
"There is no justice", howls a Bosnian mother before the sterile foyer of the International Criminal Court. "Even if they punish both Karadžić and Mladić... I will still not have 32 members of my family." "Who are these trials for?", another sobs, "What about the victims and their feelings?" Bosnian families hold banners of grief and defiance aloft and pour out all their anger and desire for retribution, for what they would define as justice. On the other side of the fence though, behind all the frosty Perspex of the ICC, sits Marko, quietly determined that professional ethics and the principle of the right to a fair trial be upheld. His position is one of contradiction; exiled from his native Serbia for anti-Milosevic dissent, and married to a Slovenian, he has no love for the Ultra-Nationalists who tore his country apart. Nevetherless, "I like defending the powerless", he says. "No matter who that is, I defended his rights with all my heart". As the trial continues though, and the dispassionate scrutiny of the legal system starts to feel unfit for this particular purpose, his conscience, his professionalism, and his marriage all start to fray at the seams. Marko's professional obligations and personal feelings start to blur. From defending Karadžić on the clock, he starts to find himself doing it in private too with his in-laws and close friends, moving from detachment into a resolute Serb identity he never thought he had. He moves beyond devil's advocate and starts to believe his own recourse to ambiguity, pointing fingers of his own and confusing the issues. He visits mass graves from all sides of the impenetrable sectarianism of the region, reviews footage of disembowelled people torn apart by hatred, and starts to lose his will to remain impartial or cast doubt. "It turns you into a stone, it kills you off emotionally", says Marko matter-of-factly. Forced to scrutinize inhumanity for a living, he fears he is becoming inhuman himself. LEARN MORE.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION. Official Selection, ZagrebDox 2015
Official Selection, Prague One World Film Festival 2014
Official Selection, Jihlava IDFF 2014