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  • The first Russian soldier to be tried for war crimes in Ukraine has now pleaded guilty.

  • The 21 year old entered the plea at a hearing in Kiev earlier today.

  • He is accused of killing an unarmed civilian in Northeastern Ukraine.

  • Just days after Russia invaded the country, the Kremlin has denied accusations of war crimes, calling them unacceptable and also outrageous CNN's melissa Bell joins us live now from keith.

  • So melissa, you actually outside the courtroom earlier today, just set the scene for us in terms of what you saw because um there were hundreds of journalists outside the courtroom.

  • I understand that really the media interest in this story has pretty much been unparalleled.

  • That's right.

  • In fact, it was so great 150 journalists inside a tiny courtroom.

  • We've been in there Friday for the preliminary hearing and even then when there were far fewest of us, there's a sign we had trouble squeezing into that room today.

  • They provided an extra room, a sort of spillover from which journalists would watch.

  • And still the courtroom proved proved too small for the media interest.

  • So that preliminary hearing adjourned until tomorrow when they believe a larger courtroom will be able to be found.

  • But what we did get through today before the hearing was adjourned was that guilty plea from 21 year old Madam C Cameron, he has a Russian soldiers, you suggest who was, who was accused by the prosecution of having killed an unarmed civilian.

  • Now, what happened is on the fourth day of the war, his convoy was attacked.

  • He and several other soldiers managed to escape in a car when they did so, they got to a small village, they saw this unarmed civilian riding his bicycle and on the phone, not very far from his house, Valium, she shimmering has now pled guilty to having shot him now to get more about the circumstances in which that happened.

  • We'll have to wait until the hearing tomorrow.

  • But one interesting thing we did learn today Zain is that we will be hearing from another prosecution witness, another prisoner of war, a Russian who was also traveling in that car with Madam, she shimmering, who will be able to provide more details about exactly what happened.

  • And we should have a better idea of what sort of defense he intends to give, whether it was about a chain of command that he received and what part in that defense this other witness will play whether it is simply setting the scene or more.

  • And that is important because of course, although this is the first trial war grounds trying to trial to be held by the Ukrainian side, we will be hearing Not from one prisoner of war, but a second tomorrow as well.

  • I think that's important in the context of what Susanne was just talking about there on the very same day.

  • You're seeing those as of Staal evacuees in the hands now of Russia with noises coming not just from the leader of the Donetsk people's Republic, but also from Mps in Moscow, that these prisoners of war should now be put on trial.

  • And so even as this trial has kicked off now, here on the Ukrainian side of Russian prisoners of war, what looks possible now is that you may soon in the near future getting, getting a trial on the Russian side of Ukrainian prisoners of war.

  • And I think that is why this days of developments have been so interesting.

  • Even as the battle rages on the field, there is another series of interesting developments now playing out in courtrooms.

  • Earlier, we saw the guilty plea from the first Russian soldier to stand trial for war crimes.

  • Now, Human Rights Watch says it has documented dozens of alleged Russian war crimes committed against civilians in the Kiev in Geneve regions early in the war, its investigation uncovered 22 apparent summary executions, nine other unlawful killings, six possible enforced disappearances in seven cases of torture.

  • And I want to talk more about this with georgie.

  • Human Rights Watch, Associate director for europe and Central Asia and he's joining me now via Skype from Tbilisi Georgia.

  • Yogi, thank you so much for joining us.

  • I mean so much of what you've documented in that report.

  • Really chilling and to be completely honest with you, very difficult.

  • When I was reading it, I had to stop at so many points.

  • I want you to tell me what you and your organizations have found on the ground.

  • That is absolutely vital in understanding the plight of Ukrainians at the moment.

  • Thank you for having me.

  • Um, look, I mean, in april um, just days out of Russian forces withdrew from Kiev and journey of regions.

  • We went into over 17 villages and towns, spoke with over 65 people, looked at physical evidence, um, analyzed, um, analyzed both video and photo materials provided by victims and witnesses as well as look at satellite images to document and expose um, the apparent war crimes, horrific abuses committed against civilians um, in this war by Russian forces under the effective control.

  • Um, you just, you just said a few numbers, but these are just, these are not just numbers.

  • The real people whose lives have been taken, whose lives have been ruined um, in as a result of violations of laws of war committed by Russian forces.

  • Yeah, Georgi, you know, there were so many villages that were mentioned in your report that we frankly have not been, you know, hearing about or covering.

  • And it goes to show that some of the stories that we have been doing as CNN is literally the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities.

  • What really struck me, what's happening at Sydney's school Where there were babies and Children that were involved basically hold up for almost 30 days.

  • This seems to be a big point where Russians are doing this to villages and and rounding them up and not allowing them out this case Really stuck with me.

  • I mean, I went to this school and to this basement together with my colleagues and I saw The area in the basement where almost entire village, at least 350 people, including Children, women, at least 70 of them were Children, at least five of them were infants, spent at least 28 days in conditions where there was no ventilation.

  • Um, there could, the people could not move around.

  • There was a chicken pox outbreak.

  • Um, there were Children had high fever, they were vomiting.

  • 10 people died.

  • Um, You could see at one door, you could see a calendar people kept to know the day and the night.

  • Um, they on the right side of this calendar, you could see the names of 10 people and the days they died.

  • Um, there on the left side, you could see seven people who were shot or disappeared in this village.

  • Um, freedom or the Russian soldiers used the school ground as a military base installing there, have a military equipment.

  • As well as, um, digging out trenches and other dugouts.

  • Pretty much endangering the very civilians that they were holding in that school.

  • Why do you think they're targeting civilians?

  • You've had experience in Georgia with Ossetia, for example, when the Russians were also embarking on conflict there, you've seen these kind of conflicts.

  • Why is this constantly happening?

  • It's against the Geneva conventions.

  • We should know better as humanity.

  • I might find egalitarian, But can you give me some insight?

  • Well, it's hard for me to assess why, but one of the is because of the impunity they feel right.

  • You know, it is really important that these war crimes are documented and exposed and there is accountability for them.

  • You know, um the the impunity for them should end and there should be a turning point where Russian forces realize that cannot target civilians.

  • It's hard for me to assess why they're doing.

  • But they, one of the ways of uh, it seems to me that one of the ways of they were they were exercising control was by rounding up civilians by detaining them in unsanitary conditions, by, you know, executing by, you know, there were dozens of cases when people have been shot at the very close range um civilians.

  • Um, there were a number of cases and we only documented, you know, we just scratched also the iceberg because we documented six cases of people disappearing.

  • And the U.N.

  • has information about over 200 people in the same.

  • We're running out of time.

  • I have to interject and I'm sorry.

  • I just I really want to get this question in.

  • There's a trial going on in Kiev right now.

  • Do you agree with a trial happening while the war is going on?

  • Well, whenever war crimes or whenever the international humanitarian laws are violated, um both Ukraine and Russia have obligations to investigate and prosecute them, so national authorities have the obligation to investigate and prosecute those crimes.

  • So it is within Ukraine's mandate to and the obligation to prosecute, um, and ensure accountability for the crimes that have been taken place on their territory or by their forces, gaga gaga.

  • Thank you very much.

  • We appreciate it.

The first Russian soldier to be tried for war crimes in Ukraine has now pleaded guilty.

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Russian soldier pleads ‘fully’ guilty in Kyiv court

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/04/27
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