Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
The murder of internationally renowned human rights activist, Floribert Chebeya, and the disappearance of his driver, Fidele Bazana, in June 2010 ignited a firestorm in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - wtih fingers being pointed at the top echelons of the police and at a very close ally of President Laurent Kabila. After a massive national and international outcry, a group of senior policemen were arrested and tried by a military court, and five of them were eventually found guilty of Chebeya's murder.
Nearly two years after his death, a documentary film about the extraordinary trial - The Chebeya Affair: A State Crime? - has won the prestigious Grand Award at the International Human Rights Film Festival in Paris.
Directed by Thierry Michel, produced by les Films de la Passerelle and part-funded by OSISA, the Chebeya Affair is a political tragi-comedy that is both the chronicle of the remarkable trial and a fascinating political thriller.
After the macabre discovery of Floribert Chebeya’s body in the back of his car in Kinshasa after he had gone for a meeting with General John Numbi, the chief of police, Thierry Michel set out with his camera to try to retrace the steps of this internationally known human rights activist - and to document what became one of the most important and talked-about trials in Congolese history.
Over a period of 8 months, he filmed the extraordinary trial - producing a documentary that has brought this shocking story to a global audience and fully merits the Grand Award.
Over the past seven years, the Human Rights International Film Festival has grown into the most important cultural event related to human rights in France, raising awareness about critical human rights issues - such as the murder of one of Congo's foremost human rights defenders.