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At This Hour

Hurricane Fiona Roars By Bermuda, Taking Aim At Canada; Police Chief Sets New Tone For Law Enforcement. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 23, 2022 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: He also continued to call the images coming out of Ukraine, the images of atrocities fake. When he calls the atrocities in Bucha, and the way he said it yesterday was "staged," how damaging is that kind of disinformation? Does it make your job harder?

KARIM KHAN, CHIEF PROSECUTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: No. The truth is the truth. Parties can make their own statements. But I've been to Bucha, I've been behind St. Andrew's church, I saw those bodies in the body bags, and they were real people. So we have to investigate how did they die, if crimes were committed, and if so who's responsible? And this is a forensic process. And in all conflicts, there's counter-narratives and narratives, truth, disinformation mixed. And we have to separate it so we get distill pure water from what could be, you know, a variety of information.

BOLDUAN: It -- and what you're getting at is with this war -- any war, there's so much -- there are politics involved, and what you cannot be involved with is that, even when you're attacked personally.

KHAN: Absolutely. I mean, Churchill said, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets a chance to put his pants on. But the great thing of the judicial system, in the end, the truth will out.

BOLDUAN: You've been to Ukraine. I think you've said three times now.

KHAN: I did.

BOLDUAN: This is the biggest deployment ever of ICC investigators. Of all of the destruction and brutality and suffering that you have seen as a prosecutor in general, what is the image if there is one that sticks with you most, at least so far from Ukraine?

KHAN: In fact, I can't say which one because every location I go to, one is staggered, not only by the destruction and -- of buildings, of hospitals, of schools but the fortitude and read the heroism of survivors, because they've got nothing. Either they're crossing the border with their plastic bags or they're separated from their loved ones, and have this hope that a better dawn will come and that international institutions and the rule of law will bring some modicum of justice. In some areas, we haven't set foot in.

I -- if we look at the panoply of information we receive, the allegations of crimes against children targeted in hospitals or allegations regarding schools being hit, these, of course, legally are a priority of me. And, of course, the harm that would cause if -- you know those children, is something that needs to be investigated in you know some of the allegations of children being transferred into the Russian Federation territory. These are priorities.

So, all of those must focus our attention and it can't simply be the people we have the privilege of seeing, but actually, even more so the individuals that are unseen, but whose lives are in very precarious situations. And the law needs to be relevant to them. We need to protect those individuals who we don't see on our TV screens.

BOLDUAN: And that's actually something that you spoke to the Security Council about was the forced deportations of Ukrainians, including children. And it's something that is deeply unsettling some of these allegations that we've heard of. A State Department official in July actually estimated that about one thousand Ukrainian children, and the way she put it, had been stolen and given to Russians, just kidnapped. That is a war crime. But is there any way to get these children back? I mean, do you believe that these children would be able to be brought home?

KHAN: Well, that's an issue that I can't speak to at the moment. We know certain transfers are taking place. But at the end of the day, the first, my focus is the bread and butter matters, that have crimes being committed, and if so who's responsible. That, itself, may act as a catalyst for consequential acts that states or the Russian Federation or Ukraine, and others may wish to take. But clearly, if people are being torn from their families or are being transferred across international borders, and they are being given up for you know, adoption, this is an issue that could give rise to the jurisdiction of the court. And I'm certainly prioritizing the investigations in that -- in that respect.

BOLDUAN: It just seems particularly hard to follow that line, to follow some of these children or babies.

KHAN: Yes.

BOLDUAN: And that just seems particularly hard to -- something to follow in track and investigate.

KHAN: It is when conflict is ugly.


KHAN: Conflict is awful. It's not illegal. But what is illegal is deliberately targeting the most vulnerable. It is a criminal offense to target a hospital or a school or to target a child or a woman or a man, the elderly, any non-combatant, one doesn't have a license to kill with impunity. This is why we have the laws and these are the lessons of the history of Nuremberg, and this strategy is, as an international community, we know that. All of your viewers will know never again that we've heard since the Holocaust.

BOLDUAN: Yes. KHAN: And yet we see to our great chagrin, yet again, yet again, and yet again, these crimes are taking place. So this is the moment where I think we need to regard them as our efforts and to show that the law can be active on the front lines. We're trying to add more nimbly where they're in Ukraine, where they're in other locations around the world as if --


BOLDUAN: And you're there in the midst of war. I mean, typically war crimes investigations occur after a war. You are there in the middle of a war. You've said that that, of course, presents challenges, but also opportunities. And I was interested. What are those opportunities?

KHAN: Well, access to evidence before it is interfered with before evidence is lost or destroyed. There are always allegations from the defense or from states that allegations may be events may be staged. Well, if we're there at the time, as soon as after that -- territories, for example, have been freed up, we can get the best evidence possible and that's always of the greatest utility to judges.

BOLDUAN: Is there more the United States could do to help you in your efforts in Ukraine?

KHAN: I think there's a lot that the U.S. can do. And I think one of the issues that hopefully may get bipartisan support is some clarifications of the ASPR, the American Services Protection Act because, at the moment, I can't interview a Ukrainian, for example, on the territory of the United States. It's illegal under the American Services Protection Act. So I think there is -- I had some meeting with some senators and the U.S. administration, I think there are initiatives already underway to try to clarify the scope of the ASPR so we can work better and help -- get some help from the United States and other countries as well.

And I should say, I've also written to the Russian Federation. I have written even on this trip to meet Foreign Minister Lavrov. So I will keep trying to engage with all parties.

BOLDUAN: Any response?

KHAN: No. No response from the Russian Federation.

BOLDUAN: As you mentioned, again, and again, and again, these atrocities continue all over the world. One place in particular that I have followed very closely is the war in Syria. This month, the SDF, the Syrian Defense Forces who are allied with the United States, they did -- they completed a huge raid in the al-Hawl refugee camp in northeastern Syria, and some 300 ISIS operatives were arrested, found hiding in the camp. But it has been -- it has left me thinking there's really no way or a very limited way to administer justice there when there's really no judicial system in Syria at the moment. Is there any space for the ICC in that kind of ungoverned space? Is there a space for the ICC to step in there? KHAN: I think it's a critical question. I mean, I was the first special adviser and head of the UN team investigating ISIS and I was in Baghdad, in Iraq for three years. And this issue of al-Hawl and the neighboring location of al-Hasakah is well known to represent a massive humanitarian but also legal and national security challenge.

BOLDUAN: Tough a little bit.

KHAN: So I think there are things we can do. Already, we have as the court jurisdiction in relation to the nationals of state parties. There are other options if Iraq, for example, wish to make a declaration to accept the jurisdiction of the court like Ukraine did, we can also helping work with the Iraqis. And there's other mechanisms as well.

The main thing that I'm convinced about -- I'm a Muslim, and I used to go always to the Security Council and say that the Islamic State is the most un-Islamic state. And one of the utilities of the law is to put in a spotlight and ideology to confront it and dissect it. And I think it's very important to show that killing individuals, denying people freedom of worship, are not only criminal offenses in the context that we've looked into but actually contravened the basic tenants of Islam.

BOLDUAN: I mean, just adding to the huge challenge I had for you. But thank you so much for your work. And thank you so much for spending time with us today.

KHAN: My great pleasure.

BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it.

KHAN: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Coming up still for us. A new tropical system has formed on high alert for a potential hurricane next week. Chad Myers is next.



BOLDUAN: Hurricane Fiona is slamming the island of Bermuda right now with heavy rain and wind. That powerful storm will then head toward Nova Scotia and it couldn't be the strongest storm to ever hit Canada. Forecasters are also already watching a new threat of tropical depression, expected to become a major hurricane taking aim at Florida. CNN's Chad Myers is joining us now with the very latest. Chad, what are you watching right now?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Kate, I watched a little bubble of storms pop up around Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao yesterday afternoon. And now we have this much bigger bubble. And it is now Tropical Depression number nine, and it will become a tropical storm or a hurricane probably by this evening. But right now, the problem is the center of circulation is here. All the convection is here, hurricane center waiting for this to come around and get those winds a little bit stronger. When you have them separated, it's just not really an event, that's just a spin out there.

But the spin is going to get angry and this begins to get organized. And all of a sudden, we're going to move this thing on up toward either Florida or the Gulf, just the center of the Gulf of Mexico. The reason why this is going to get so strong so quickly, the temperatures are in the lower to upper 80s for water temperature. That is so so very warm. There's the storm about where we thought yesterday, but it was farther from here to maybe here. Now focusing in. Maybe just a little bit more but as a Category 3, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Category 3. All right, Chad, busy days ahead. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

MYERS: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up still for us. A Connecticut police chief who's putting the hard work into community engagement and it's paying off in a big way. CNN's Alisyn Camerota is next with her "CHAMPION FOR CHANGE."


BOLDUAN: "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE," CNN's week-long series bringing you extraordinary people working every day to change the world for the better.


Today, we introduce you to an innovative police chief in Westport, Connecticut. Long before the murder of George Floyd when police reform became a national conversation, this chief had already put major reforms in place because he believed they were common sense and his community and department agreed. My colleague, Alisyn Camerota rode along with the chief to figure out his secret to success.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Foti epitomizes what policing should be, realizing that times have changed and the duties of a police officer have changed.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I had heard for years that the people in Westport, Connecticut love their police chief. Why do they love their police chief, particularly in this climate of tension? And so I just wanted to find out what he's doing that could be implemented around the rest of the country.

All right, so we're going to get in the car and you're going to take me for a drive.

FOTI KOSKINAS, CHIEF, WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're going for a ride. I moved to the U.S. from Greece at the age of 11 and not knowing a word of English. I started as a police officer in 1996.

CAMEROTA: What I found is that Chief Foti has managed to successfully straddle the line between being pro-cop and pro-community.

KOSKINAS: It's a good stepping stone.

HAROLD BAILEY, COMMUNITY LEADER: Somebody started looking into these issues years before George Floyd when Michael Brown had just been killed. We talked about what needed to change, what didn't, and what I saw out of him was someone who listened. And we saw there was some change in his perspective, but there was a change in ours as well for a number of us because we got to see what you had to deal with. And we saw out of him a commitment to look at what was going on in the police force and establish a set of standards for reforms.

KOSKINAS: The day of the George Floyd incident. We were not backpedaling and backtracking and making excuses or even fighting the changes. We had already made the changes. So chokehold's duty to intervene, they're all common sense. Every police department should be doing this.

DAN WOOG, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: I think he takes so seriously the idea that he is the police chief of everyone, whether it's the LGBTQ rally, Black Lives Matter. Foti was in the middle of it showing that he was there.

KOSKINAS: I stand here with you, I marched with you.

I specifically said to the group that I will kneel with you, but I will kneel with you for a moment of silence. I will kneel for -- with you for a moment of prayer. And I will kneel for you against police brutality. I will absolutely not kneel with you against police. And I will not kneel with you against the flag. I have challenged the status quo. At times I got in trouble for challenging the status quo. But I wouldn't change anything about it. I think if I didn't, I wouldn't be where I am today.

CAMEROTA: There are a lot of unanswered questions.

So for five years, in my 20s, I was a reporter at the crime show "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED." And then when I worked at that show, it really opened my eyes to all that police do and how the best ones and I'm not saying there aren't bad ones, but the best ones go above and beyond and really are there for all the right reasons and are doing it for the justice of the community.

KOSKINAS: We hold a lot of different programs so we can get involved with the community. We do a cornhole which seems to be the up-and- coming thing. It's set up by high school kids and the officers participate in it. For me as the police chief to be in shorts and a T- shirt playing cornhole, I'm just one of them at that point. Were that helps? When there's a crisis or when something's happening at the high school and we've had a real lockdown. These kids have had the comfort to go to the school resource officer.

CAMEROTA: He's walking the walk literally. People know him. He stops to say hello to people. He grants kids' wishes.

WOOG: It's Showtime, I think. KOSKINAS: Let's go have some fun.

Go ahead and we'll be out with Green 32.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll be out with Green 32.

KOSKINAS: Come on, come on, come on, explode. Come on. Oh, my God.

WOOG: You can't fake what Foti does. You can't fake his smile. You can't fake his enthusiasm. You can't fake his genuineness. What you see with Foti is what you get. And we're lucky to get it.


BOLDUAN: I love that image of you guys together, Alisyn. That was pretty awesome.

CAMEROTA: Oh, you know, I'm an old-time crime fighter if it's so the very first correspondent. I hope so.

BOLDUAN: I mean you've talked about it before. I've never seen the footage. I'm so excited that was able to make a little cameo.

CAMEROTA: I don't know where they unearthed that. But I was shocked when I saw it. It fit.

BOLDUAN: Well, I mean, you know, it's -- you were you know, seven when you started in this -- in this line of work, so --

CAMEROTA: That's --

BOLDUAN: But wait -- but Chief Foti, he's wonderful energy about him. He makes it look easy, but there's no way it could have been easy to implement changes. I mean, how did he get buy-in from the department?

CAMEROTA: Yes, I think that's a great question. Basically, he believed in these reforms. It wasn't that somebody told him he had to do it. So he believed years ago they should have cameras in cruisers because it made cops better having a watchful eye.


He believed in, as you heard him there, taking a knee with Black Lives Matter protesters because he too is against police brutality. I mean, he describes it as common sense. So because he's such a believer, I think that it inspired his police force to have buy-in because of his enthusiasm for these things.

BOLDUAN: It seems that way. I think it's a really great highlighting that. Thanks for bringing that.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for coming in.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for bringing it. BOLDUAN: Good to see you. And join us tomorrow night for a one-hour special "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" where we introduce you to all of our champions. It's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

And thank you all so much for being here today. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts after the break.