In the heart of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, United Nations soldiers guard a heavily fortified building known as the “special court.” Inside, Issa Sesay awaits his trial. Prosecutors say Sesay is a war criminal, guilty of heinous crimes against humanity. His defenders say he is a reluctant fighter who protected civilians and played a crucial role in bringing peace to Sierra Leone. With unprecedented access to prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims, and, from behind bars, Sesay himself, “War Don Don” puts international justice on trial for the world to see — finding that in some cases the past is not just painful, it is also opaque.
Rebecca Richman Cohen is an award-winning filmmaker and a law school graduate with experience in international human rights and criminal defense. She interned as an investigator at the Bronx Defenders and continued to do investigative work at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, working on a legal defense team for Alex Tamba Brima in the AFRC-accused case. Between trips to Sierra Leone, she has been adjunct faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and at American University’s Human Rights Institute. Rebecca graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and with a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.