Ukraine upholding human rights during war crime trials
31 May 2022
Professor Rosa Freedman, Professor of Law, Conflict and Global Development, said:
“The Ukrainian prosecution of a Russian soldier is likely to be one of hundreds if not thousands of trials for war crimes. The video footage taken on countless mobile phones provides the evidence to hold accountable captured Russian soldiers.
"Unlike in many other war situations, Ukraine has a functioning and effective legal system, and many national and international lawyers and investigators on the ground gathering evidence. The right to a fair trial is absolutely crucial, both as a fundamental human right but also for the legitimacy of these actions.
"By bringing these soldiers to justice, Ukraine is showing the world that it values human rights and rule of law even in the face of the most terrible atrocities being perpetrated by Russia. The country is showing its people that justice will be done, and is showing the world that it will not sink to the level of the invading army or the aggressor state that is destroying Ukraine.
"The first Russian soldier is being prosecuted for rape during the war in Ukraine. The country is showing that it is possible for justice to be done even during wartime, and that they are upholding democracy and human rights of Russian soldiers even while those soldiers are committing war crimes and atrocities against Ukrainians. Sexual exploitation and abuse are widespread in conflict zones, but what this soldier is accused of is rape as a weapon of war, which makes it even more important that justice is done and done swiftly."