While on residency at HIAP, Model Court researches for their new video commission. The video will recompose archive material as well as interviews conducted on the subject of the recently completed trial of Francois Bazaramba, a Rwandan national convicted of genocide by a tiny Finnish district court in the town of Porvoo. The trial of Bazaramba is unprecedented and a unique case study on universal jurisdiction and media: During the course of the trial, Finnish judges and prosecutors travelled to Rwanda and Tanzania, while the suspect remained detained in Finland, becoming a Skype participant in his own trial from his cell in Helsinki. This film attempts to understand the trials complicated relationship to aid, colonialism, and the production of history through examining the complex and often dysfunctional audiovisual configurations used to bridge the jurisdictional divide. What is revealed in Porvoo’s attempt to intervene in a genocide, miles away from its borders, is not the history of Rwanda or the culpability of Francois Bazaramba. Rather what is clearly demonstrated in the tele-transmission of the Finnish legal space into Rwanda is the cultural specificity of “international” justice and it’s vision for Africa.
Model Court is an ongoing body of work produced by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Lorenzo Pezzani and Oliver Rees. The project builds upon regular meetings with an international group of people inhabiting the space of the courtroom (lawyers, judges, typists, courtroom artists) and various film-makers, architects and theorists whose work deals with the spatial, aesthetic and geopolitical aspects of legal procedure.