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Russian soldiers to face avalanche of war crimes trials. What next?

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Vienna, May 14, 2020

by Edward Steen, AEJ Secretary-General

The personal tragedies inflicted on Ukrainian families are often unbearable for reporters to witness or hear about. But proper reportage is a vital backdrop to a reckoning and a return to normal life. The UK’s Channel 4 News (facing its own imminent and wanton destruction by the Johnson government) has provided some of the most vivid eye-witness accounts and news films since the war began. 

Last night the station reported on the first Russian soldier – 41 more cases are being prepared –  to appear in court in Kyiv, along with a heart-rending account by International Editor Lindsey Hilsum of the senseless savagery inflicted on the sleepy village of Sydorovychi, barely an hour from the Russian border. The 21-year-old soldier (left), no more than a boy, is accused of the premeditated murder of a 62-year-old civilian.

Russian-born Julia Ioffe

The subsequent interview by Krishnan Guru-Murthy with Irena Venediktova, Prosecutor -General of Ukraine, is meticulous in questioning how far war crime trials can be fair, coming so soon after the events, as are her answers. Hard to imagine a better example of what objective reportage and “the rule of law” should look like, even in a war.



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