"The Law in These Parts" – about Israel's military justice system – today at Sundance Film Festival

This extraordinarily powerful film, showing Israeli military court judges at work in the northern West Bank of Nablus during the first Palestinian intifada [circa 1988 + 1989] — and today, now in their retirement years, perhaps on Israel’s comfortable coastal plain, reflecting on what they did and how they did it — is being screened today in the Sundance Film Festival, Sundance, Colorado.

The film shed light on the dynamics of “a system of long-term jurisdiction by an occupying army that is unique in the entire world”, as one of the film’s websites says here.

The website adds that the film attempts to show how Israeli military court judges faced “complex judicial and moral dilemmas in order to develop and uphold a system of long-term military ‘rule by law’ of an occupied population, all under the supervision of Israel’s Supreme Court, and, according to Israel, in complete accordance with international law”…

At more than one point in the part of the film that I saw, Israeli former judges in the military court system were asked if they were aware that the confessions made by Palestinians, upon which they were convicted and sentenced, were extracted after torture. The reactions of the former military court judges are truly difficult to watch…

Our earlier post on this new film, which we published in July 2011, can be read here. Now, as the film is being screened at Sundance and elssewhere, the shorter version has been removed from Youtube, and listed as private, with permission needed to access. [A longer, 23-minute first cut was removed from the Vimeo site the day our post was published last July, as we noted in our blot post that day…]

The Law in These Parts was screened last week by the Educational Bookshop and the French Cultural Center on Salah ad-Din Street in East Jerusalem.

The showings at the Sundance Film Festival — or in Haifa, West Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv — are listed on the film’s website here.