Summer Collection 2023 – War Reporting with Danny Kemp

To continue our summer collection for this year we go to relatively recent history and sit down with Danny Kemp shortly after stories of atrocities were being reported in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. Pictures of numerous bodies lying in quiet residential streets after the Russian withdrawal forced the world to take the allegations of war crimes with a new level of seriousness.

Danny, who works as a journalist for AFP (and is leaving The Hague to be bureau chief in Washington DC), was part of a convoy which were among the first to witness the atrocities taking place in Bucha. He was behind that first news alert that hit the wires on April 2nd, “At least 20 bodies seen in one street in town near Kyiv: AFP”. He also later wrote a piece about Bucha and the experience he shared with the team including the photographer and the videographer.

With Danny, we talk through what the trip in the Ukraine was like and the realities of reporting in such a dangerous environment. We also get down to the important role that journalists play in the witnessing and reporting of atrocity crimes yet the absent role they are often forced to play in criminal trials.

Danny references other Bucha stories by AFP and Reuters which you can read here and here.

The content of the episode might be distressing to some. As we mention, here is a resource on how to deal with secondary trauma.

As a good read to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Ukraine, and with many parallels to the current war, Danny suggests Vasily Grossman’s Life and Faith, while he leaves it to skateboarding videos to keep him distracted.