The Trials of Henry Kissinger is a documentary based on Christopher Hitchens’ controversial book about the Nobel Laureate and famous U.S. diplomat. Filmmakers Eugene Jarecki and Alex Gibney thoroughly examine Kissinger’s life and career, from his childhood escape from the Nazis to his canny achievement of celebrity status and formidable power over American foreign policy under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
The film presents the case that Kissinger could be tried as a war criminal in International Criminal Court for his role in influencing illegal military actions by the U.S. government. Hitchens, other journalists, and several political figures, including Kissinger supporters like Alexander Haig, discuss Kissinger’s role in the following events — the secret bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War, which killed thousands of civilians in the neutral country, and indirectly led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge; the 1970 military coup in Chile that brought vicious dictator Augusto Pinochet to power; and the 1975 massacre of East Timor by a U.S.-backed Indonesian military.
The film describes how a new climate of international justice, exemplified by Pinochet’s arrest, could mean that Kissinger will eventually have to defend his actions in court.