The Dictator Hunter Review





The Dictator Hunter Review

The Dictator Hunter is a documentary that follows the activities and events facilitated by Attorney Reed Brody in his quest to find former Chad President Hissène Habré who had orchestrated the mass killing and torturing of his citizen. A close confidante to Reed Brody and his political guide in Senegal, Souleymane Guenggueng was equally influential in contributing towards the compilation of information in the documentary (Quirijns et al., 78). The two human rights activists worked in collaboration to lobby Canada as well as expose the violations perpetrated by the former president. Specifically, the film shows the political situation in Chad from two perspectives: from the victims’ side and from the human rights perspective.

One of the key benefits of a joint focus is that it brings out the urgency of the case. By outlining the plight of the Chad residents, the film reached out to the emotions of the viewers. Showing the tortured victims, widowed families, and impoverished societies was necessary to invoke the much-need uproar at the inhuman conditions created by Hissène Habré during his reign. Conversely, covering the relevant human rights violations and procedures shed light on the administrative needs hat had to be addressed before justice could be realized for the people of Chad. Combining both perspectives paints an urgent and critical picture that held the potential of catching the attention of the global community. It is imperative to note that the United Nations and other major global organizations responsible for upholding peace receive critical new from different countries on a regular basis. The Chad case is just one of many human rights violations that need attention and support. Given the shortage of funds and human resources, it was necessary to bring out a wholesome perspective to ensure that the case was given the highest priority. Taking only one side of the case would be tantamount to leaning towards one aspect. This fails to serve the intended purpose. Having a joint focus in the film also justifies the massive expenditure and allocation of resources to the Habré case. Brody and Souleymane worked to show the way international treaties and laws were being violated in Chad. They also showed the physical and mental injuries of the actual victims.

The inclusion of Souleymane served to bring an aspect of authenticity to the struggle for justice. He was a direct victim of the torture during Habrés’ reign having nearly lost his sight and limbs in the process. He also contributed greatly towards facilitating the reinforcement of the human rights environment within Chad by joining the Chadian Association of Victims of Political Repression and Crime. This and other agencies fight on behalf of the Chad citizens. However, Souleymane plays a bigger role in the film by acting as the voice of the victims. In the documentary, Brody noted that Habrés’ case was dragging itself because of Chad’s declaration that it could conducts its own free and fair trials against the perpetrator. However, little had been done in the duration the African country had taken charge of the case. This made Souleymane a very significant advocate for human rights.

By combining the roles of the victims and the roles of human rights entities, The Dictator Hunter brings out the best of both worlds and this makes it an inclusive work. In the project, the inclusion of Reed Brody has several positive implications. One, he acts as the legal face of the whole account. Brody had the necessary legal experience in international human rights cases and this was important in handling the Habré case. The African context in which Brody’s case presented itself required the contribution of a seasoned attorney. Furthermore, Brody’s personality and current position was also essential in following up with the case. He was fully dedicated towards realizing justice for the people of Chad to an extent that he rejected an opportunity to work with United Nations.


Works Cited

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Quirijns, Klaartje, Pieter. Huystee, Jeroem Arnolds, Reed Brody, Souleymane Guengueng, Katharina Wartena, Paul M. V. Brugge, and Melle V. Essen. The Dictator Hunter. New York, NY: Cinema Guild, 2009.

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