FIGHTING BY THE RULES

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Date: January 1999
Location: World
Distributor: ICRC + Military Academies world-wide
Credits: filmed, directed, produced and edited by Claudio von Planta
Script and Voice Over: Gwynne Roberts –¬†RW Films
Client: International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC
 
FIGHTING BY THE RULES is a 28-minute educational film for the ICRC explaining the history and the relevance of the Geneva Conventions (International Humanitarian Law). This video is used world-wide in military academies.


Production Notes:
It was a major challenge to find archive footage about wars covering the entire 20th century and to develop a concise but neutral point of view.
 
This project gave me a great opportunity to reflect on my many personnel experiences in different conflict zones around the world. Despite all the continuing horrors of wars it’s very reassuring to discover how the international community is trying to define limits to wars. Of course it’s an eternal uphill struggle and the Geneva Conventions are violated far too often. Nevertheless, the vast majority of countries accept the necessity of rules to limit the damage of wars: the so called Humanitarian Law. It defines the difference between anarchy and civilisation, helps to resolve conflicts and lays the foundation of humanity’s conscience.
 
Recent additions to the Geneva Conventions are the ban of anti-personal mines in the 2007 Ottawa treaty and the ban of cluster bombs in the 2008 Oslo treaty.
 
Working for the ICRC requires a totally unbiased approach. It’s quite different from normal TV productions. To explain the history of the Geneva Conventions within 30 minutes was quite a tall order. First I had to do the research, study the history of warfare since the 19th Century and find appropriate examples of conflicts that represent the different development stages of the Laws of War. In the next step I had to do extensive archival research to compile the best film material. In addition, I had to find a number of experts and film several interviews. The final script was eventually written by my colleague Gwynne Roberts who also recorded the voice over.

 

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