The Chebeya affair, a State crime ? Thierry Michel

On 2nd June 2010, Floribert Chebeya, a Congolese human rights activist and director of the NGO “Voice of the Voiceless”, was found murdered in his car. His death was crudely disguised as a sex crime. His driver has disappeared.

It soon became clear that this murder was perpetrated by the police services of General Numbi, chief inspector of the Congolese police. Several police officials are arrested, including General Numbi’s deputy, Colonel Mukalay. General Numbi was suspended from duty. Three policemen fled abroad. This crime occurred less than a month before the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of the Congo, at a time when Floribert Chebeya was broadening his investigations into sensitive human rights matters.

The United Nations, the European Union, the United States and numerous NGOs are calling on the Congolese authorities to undertake “an independent, impartial and transparent investigation”. Chebeya’s widow left the DRC and took refuge in Canada. The international pressure is high and a trial before the military court is established.

Is the judicial authority capable of exercising an impartial justice?

Director : Thierry Michel 
Editor : Emmanuelle Dupuis 
Mixing : Rachid Benbouchta 
Administration of production : François Dombret 
Executive producer : Les films de la Passerelle 

Cinema version : 58 et 70min
Support : French, English, Dutch
 was born on October 13, 1952, in Charleroi, Belgium, an area known as "The Black Country". At 16 he studied cinema at the Institut des Arts et Diffusion in Brussels where he came back to teach cinema. He experienced the last tremors before the students' upheavals which was to be the prelude to political enrolment in the militant and lyrical movements of the time. In 1973, he began to work as a filmmaker at the Belgian Television and realized numerous programmes all over the world. He dedicates his first films "Pays Noir, Pays Rouge" and "Chronique des saisons d'Acier" to the coal basin of his youth and his first fiction feature length "Hiver 60" tells of the insurrectional strikes of 1960.

He then came back to reality with two very moving pictures, "Kids from Rio" and "From the grass roots" which depicted the street urchins and the favelas of heart-rending Brazil. This was to be his first encounter with the black culture which he studied in-depth in Zaire with "Zaire, the cycle of the serpent", a many award winning film which ruthlessly portrays the ruling class and the rejects of Zaire society.

After ten years and seven films made in Africa he goes back to Asia and the Republic of Iran, one of the cradles of Islamic fundamentalism. There he made his latest film "Iran, veiled appearances" in which he paints a portrait of a society that is socially and culturally split. The eye of the film-maker captures the religious fervour of some which contrasts so violently with the desire for freedom of others. After having been selected in major festivals, Thierry Michel has again gleaned numerous international distinctions. 

Thierry Michel has an insatiable curiosity and has, for the last twenty years, not stopped filming all the beloved faced that inhabit the "sublime reality" of his camera. "The themes are the same, where you are. Man is the same, whether here or there; life and death are perceived identically. I have yet to stop working".


* Prix Maurice de Wilde, DE GROENE BELGO DOC (Belgique)

* Mention Spéciale du Jury, FESTIVAL "VUES D'AFRIQUE" (Canada)

* Mention spéciale du jury du HUMAN SCREEN FESTIVAL (Tunisie)