Fiche Film
LONG Métrage | 2008
Chasseur de Dictateurs, Le (Dictator Hunter, The)
Klaartje Quirijns
Titre anglais : Dictator Hunter, The
Pays concerné : Tchad
Réalisateur(s) : Klaartje Quirijns
Durée : 75
Genre : portrait
Type : documentaire


Souleymane Guengueng, un ancien fonctionnaire, a vu des centaines de ses compagnons de cellule périr sous la torture et la maladie pendant deux ans en prison sous le règne du dictature tchadien Hissène Habré. Guengueng a fait un serment devant Dieu que tant qu’il sera en vie, il traînera ses bourreaux en justice. Habré a quitté le pouvoir en 1990, et la quête de justice commença alors pour Guengueng. Ces huit dernières années Guengueng a été rejoint dans sa chasse par Reed Brody connu comme « le chasseur de dictateurs » de Human Rights Watch pour son travail sur la traque de l’ancien tyran chilien Augusto Pinochet. Maintenant Habré vit au Sénégal, où Brody et Guengueng essaient d’avoir un procès et le faire extrader. Dans The Dictator Hunter, nous suivons Brody et Guengueng durant deux années essentielles et pleines de suspense. The Dictator Hunter montre ce que des personnes engagées peuvent accomplir quand ils travaillent patiemment pour briser le cycle de l’impunité.

En Anglais, français et arabe, sous-titré en anglais.
Durée : 1h25 et 55 min

Documentaire de Klaartje Quirijns (Hollande, 72 min & 55 min)
Année de réalisation 2007

Thématiques : Afrique – Justice pénale internationale – Tchad – Sénégal

Réalisation / Directed by
Klaartje Quirijns

Ecriture / Script
Klaartje Quirijns

Photographie / Cinematography
Melle van Essen

Montage / Editor
Katharina Wartena
Michael Berenbaum, A.C.E.
Stefan Kamp
Jill Schweitzer

Son / Sound
Pieterjan Wouda | Bryan Dembinski | Brian Fish

Pieter van Huystee Film and EyesWideFilms
Tel : + 31 – 204210606

Site internet du film / Film website

Sélection à des Festivals et Prix / Festival selections and Awards

April 2008 | FIFDH 2008 – 6ème Festival International du Film des Droits de l’Homme | PARIS, France | Du 25 mars au 1er avril |
Prix spécial du jury (Catégorie Dossiers et Grands Reportages) à Klaartje Quirijns

Sept. 2007 | Toronto International Film Festival / Nov. 2007 | International Documentary Festival Amsterdam

Diffusion sur TSR2 (Suisse)
Dimanche 16 mars 2008, 20h35 à 21h30 (version courte : 55 min)


In English, French and Arabic with English subtitles

Souleymane Guengueng, a former civil servant, watched hundreds of his cellmates perish from torture and disease during two years in prison under Chadian dictator Hissene Habré. Guengueng took an oath before God that if he ever got out alive, he would bring his tormentors to justice. Habré fell from power in 1990, and Guengueng’s quest for justice began. For the past eight years Guengueng has been joined in the chase by Reed Brody-known as Human Rights Watch’s « dictator hunter » for his work on the case of Chile’s former tyrant Augusto Pinochet. Now Habré lives in Senegal, where Brody and Guengueng are attempting to have him brought to trial or extradited. In The Dictator Hunter we follow Brody and Guengueng over the course of two suspenseful and critical years. The Dictator Hunter shows what committed individuals can accomplish when working relentlessly to break the cycle of impunity.

Director’s statement

Why this film
A few years ago I was introduced to Reed Brody and Souleymane Guengueng. I met them at the office of Human Rights Watch in the Empire State building in New York. The two men were sitting under a world map in Brody’s office with black and white mug shots of dictators all over the map. They pointed at one and looked at me and said: « this is one of the most brutal dictators you have probably never
heard of: Hissene Habré of Chad and we want to bring this man to justice ».
I saw a film in these two men and their quest to change the system in which dictators could kill and get away with it. Both are tremendously driven, the one believing in the law, and the other one in God.
I like to observe and explore where people come from, why they do what they do.
In this case I wanted to know more about the backgrounds of Reed and Souleymane, I was moved by their friendship and curious about their mission. One is a survivor who lost his sight in the prisons in Chad and the other is an idealistic Jewish lawyer from Brooklyn, whose father survived the holocaust. Who is this man, why is he sacrificing money and his family, is he a Don Quixote, or is he vain, arrogant or just naive?

Why the film is relevant
I think ‘International Justice’, although an abstract concept, is the issue for the coming years. It is the hot potato for the US because they don’t like to see former heads of state being sent to other countries to stand trial.
Everybody knows that at this moment innocent people are killed in Darfur.
however, for the longest time, no one did anything, not the UN, not the Europeans, nor the United States, but there is ‘international justice’. It is the ultimate hope to break the cycle of impunity. And the Habré case is the test case.

Themes I like to explore in films
I knew I wanted to explore the international political context in which their stories took place. It was crucial for me to show in this film that the stories were set against the backdrop of ambivalent American and Western foreign politics.
Morality and justice are murky waters to swim in. The more I started to be involved, the more layers I saw in this story: religion, sacrifice and the miscommunication between people, countries and continents.

Three years of filming
In a way I understand Reed’s drive: I was nearly as obsessed with the film as he was with the Habré case. I remembered waking up in the hospital after a surgery and was ordered to stay in bed for a week, but when I saw an email from Reed that Habré was arrested, I wanted to leave immediately. With no budget for the film yet, I decided to go to Dakar that same evening. I didn’t know how the story would go, but somehow I felt the importance of the story and I wanted to make the film no matter what.
There were a lot of bumps in the road during the three years that I worked on the film. Every time we planned a trip to Chad, the rebels were on their way to N’Djamena, the capital from which Habré reigned and each time we had to cancel the trip. I knew I had no film without Chad, the country which was crucial, as it was the heart of the film, but finally we were able to go and film in all the necessary places.
One of the most important and satisfying moments was the day when I filmed the widows in the desert. Their cry for justice made a deep imprint on me: at least they didn’t have to keep their stories for themselves, finally their stories were heard and hopefully will be heard by a lot of people who have no idea who Hissène Habré is.

Klaartje Quirijns

Production company
Pieter van Huystee Film and EyesWideFilms
Noordermarkt 37-39, 1015 NA Amsterdam The Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 421 0606
Fax: +31 20 638 6255
[email protected]

Language: French / English/ Arabic with English subtitles
Genre: Documentary
Running time: 75 minutes, 52 minutes TV hour upon request
Land of origine: The Netherlands

Director: Klaartje Quirijns
Director of Photography: Melle van Essen
Sound: Pieterjan Wouda
Editor: Katharina Wartena
Producer: Pieter van Huystee
Line producer: Sylvia Baan
Commissioning Editor: Margje de Koning (Ikon)
Claire Aguilar (ITVS International)

World premiere: September 7th, 2007
Toronto International Film Festival
European premiere: November 2007
International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
Dutch Theatrical release November / December 2007

World sales: Filmstransit International
Jan Röfekamp cell: +541 862 0054
[email protected]
Diana Holzberg cell: +917 757 1444
[email protected]

Festival requests: John Nadai [email protected]

Publicity manager: Sara Höhner / Pieter van Huystee Film
Phone: +31 20 421 0606
[email protected]