Facing History and Ourselves has partnered with Skylight Pictures, the producers of the film The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court. This film traces the development of the first permanent international criminal court and explores some of the successes and challenges this new court has faced since its establishment in 2002. To make this feature-length documentary more accessible for classroom use, the filmmakers have collaborated with a team at Facing History to create three short video modules—each one focusing on an important aspect of global justice. We have developed lesson ideas to go with each of these modules, as well as a lesson idea aimed at preparing students to watch these materials. The purpose of this lesson idea is to provide ideas for what students might do after viewing the film. Many of these suggestions could be used to assess students’ understanding of the material explored in the film.
- Essay assignment: Any of the Viewing Guide Questions or Connections questions following the Readings could be used as a prompt for an essay or journal assignment. Students are often more engaged in their writing when they have the opportunity to select their topic. So you might allow students to choose the questions to which they respond. Students might also be inspired to write their own essay prompt.
- Inform others about the ICC: Many people are not familiar with the ICC. Students, working in pairs or small groups, can design a poster or pamphlet informing others (i.e., students, parents, community members, etc.) about the ICC. This project requires students to identify the most important information about the court. You might require them to use quotations from the film or the documents as well.
- Letter writing: Students could write a letter to someone profiled in the film, such as Jimmy Otim, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Ben Ferencz, or John Bolton. In this letter, students could share areas of agreement and disagreement, as well as ask questions they hope this person would answer. Mailing the letter should not be a requirement for this assignment.
- Exit card: A quick way to get a sense of what students have taken away from a lesson or a text. Exit card prompts you might use (depending on your purpose) include: 1) what questions do you have at the end of this lesson? 2) what are three things you have learned about the ICC?; 3) what is the purpose of the ICC?; 4) what challenges does it face in accomplishing its goals?; and 5) what do you think can help societies achieve justice after horrible crimes have been committed?
- Toolbox for justice: Students can create a toolbox—a list of strategies, policies, institutions, and/or ideas—which can be used to help societies achieve justice after crimes have been committed. Toolboxes can be 3-dimensional or can be presented as a list. Additionally, some teachers limit the amount of tools students can include in their toolboxes.
- Getting your voice heard: After learning about different perspectives on the ICC and studying the opportunities and risks associated with this new court, students may have developed ideas about the ICC that they would like to share with others. You can have the class brainstorm how people get their voices heard on issues they care about. For example, many people, including scholars, activists, and informed citizens, are using blogs as a way to share information and express opinions about the ICC. Students might read and post a comment on a blog that discusses international justice issues such as:http://ijcentral.org/blog/, http://iccnow.org/blog/, http://blogs.ssrc.org/.
- Justice in your school: After viewing these film modules, students might be inspired to learn more about justice in their schools. The first step might be having students do some research about the justice system in place at their school. Once students are informed about existing structures, they can analyze the effectiveness of the system. If they determine that there are major flaws in the system, or that there is no formal system in place, students might want to help establish or improve a system of justice. Like the conveners of the Rome Conference, students can organize a conference where students and teachers meet to draft a “constitution” for a school-based justice system.
- Current events: Every day the media covers stories about the ICC or situations related to international justice. You might ask students to follow the news for a week to find a story that is relevant to the material they just explored. At the end of the week, students can share the stories that they found. This activity helps students see the relevance of the material they are studying to events that are happening around the world right now. Note: Facing Today is a space on Facing History’s website where we post current events related to our themes, including justice, genocide, and human rights.
- Research project: These films provide an excellent springboard for research projects about international law, alternative forms of justice, human rights, child soldiers, and many other issues and specific histories (Uganda, Sudan, Nuremberg, etc.). Students might begin by listing the questions that the film raises for them. Then they can select one of these questions as the focus of a research project. The related links sections can be a useful starting point for students as they begin their research projects. Students can share their research at a class or school symposium on international justice and/or human rights.