Justice for Sale

A film by Femke & Ilse van Velzen

Netherlands/Congo | 2011 | 84 minutes | Color | DVD | French/Swahili/Lingala | Subtitled | Order No. 121078


JUSTICE FOR SALE follows the young, courageous Congolese human rights lawyer Claudine Tsongo who refuses to accept that justice is indeed “For Sale” in her country. When she investigates the case of a soldier convicted of rape, she becomes convinced his trial was unfair and uncovers a system where the basic principles of law are ignored—and when the system fails, everyone becomes a victim. The documentary not only provides a glimpse into the failings of the Congolese judicial system but also raises questions about the role of the international community and non-governmental organizations in reforming it. Does their financial support cause justice to be for sale? And who pays the price?

This is the third documentary in Dutch filmmakers Ilse and Femke van Velzen’s trilogy about the Congo, following FIGHTING THE SILENCE, about the consequences for victims of sexual violence and WEAPON OF WAR, confessions by those who perpetrated the acts. These films are essential viewing for anyone interested in the issues facing contemporary Africa.


"...there is always something in their films that amazes me. In this one, there is a female lawyer, who is very well chosen. She makes a very cynical remark that as these trials are paid for by NGOs, they demand to see some measure of success. So now and then punishments are given just to satisfy the requirements of these NGOs - this was one scene that I thought was remarkable."

Jannie Lagnbroek Chairman Jan Vrijman Fund Board and IDFA Industry Office

“Since the first film, the Congo’s rape record has captured the world’s attention and numerous international NGOs have set up local operations aimed at bringing rapists to justice. …[the film] looks set to prompt some interesting discussions”

See NL Magazine

Highly recommended and absolutely necessary for all African studies programs.”

Educational Media Reviews Online


  • The International Film Festival in Burundi, Best Documentary
  • Rwanda Film Festival, Silverback Award, Best Documentary
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
  • Sarasota Film Festival
  • Seattle International Film Festival
  • St. John's International Women's Film Festival
  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Dutch Premiere
  • Urbanworld Filim Festival
  • Montreal Black Film Festival


Femke & Ilse van Velzen

Born in 1980, twin sisters Ilse and Femke van Velzen are a documentary filmmaking team that aim to expose cultural injustices. The two sisters each studied social and cultural development in Amsterdam and Utrecht. After graduating in 2002, they began their own production company IFPRODUCTIONS in March 2003. IFPRODUCTIONS gives the sisters the freedom to work as independent filmmakers and producers.

The sisters use their films as educational tools, and travel to developing countries to screen their films. These screenings help expose the inequality and violence to local communities in their current living conditions. The inspiration for the van Velzen sisters’ films is promoting human rights and women’s rights across the globe. (02/11)


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