Former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was the first incumbent head of state in history to be indicted by an international court. His trial before the Hague Tribunal began in 2001 and lasted four years, rehashing the most disturbing aspects of the crimes perpetrated during the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia, where three million people were displaced, 125,000 were killed, and the European community faced the reality of mass graves and ethnic cleansing for the first time since World War II. Director Michael Christoffersen documented the entire serpentine path of the trial. His exclusive access not only to the courtroom but the key attorneys resulted in more than 2,000 hours of courtroom footage and 250 hours of interviews. In Milosevic On Trial, he distills it masterfully into an unflinching look at the savagery of war and the trail of misery left in its wake. The proceedings are both weighty and dramatic. Milosevic is confident and staunch in his refusal of a court-appointed attorney on the grounds that the trial is illegal. A key witness for the prosecution changes testimony mid-trial. Heartbreaking video footage surfaces. Christoffersen handles all of the material adeptly,cutting from the courtroom to evidence-gathering in the field and back. Gregory Nice, the British attorney and lead prosecutor racing against time to make his case, and Dragoslav Ognjanovic, Milosevic's lawyer and friend who worries over the failing health of the man he calls a hero, face off in compelling ongoing interviews. With Milosevic on Trial, Christoffersen presents a spellbinding glimpse into the mechanics of the burgeoning international court system, born from the Nazi-prosecuting Nuremberg trials.
Michael Christoffersen (b. 1954) has worked as a producer and director for more than 20 years. He is co-managing director of Team Productions, a Danish production company specializing in international productions like Sean McAllister's 2005 Sundance award winner Liberace of Baghdad. In 2001, he was granted exclusive access to film the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, which he did for four years, accumulating more than 2,000 hours of video.