speech by colin tristram on december 19th 1989. shortly after the fall of the red the chancellor addresses the people of east germany in. the middest tense the crowd clamors for the german unity journalist peter lim borg was at the scene. 30 years later he looks back on the time in dresden. starts december 19th d.w. . in. minsk the capital of valorous a vigil is being held to remember politicians who disappeared from him without a trace 20 years ago. a key witness has come forward he tells us that as a soldier of a special unit he was involved in the abduction and murder of the opposition
politicians with the help of the book because we were acting on orders. we were given a verbal order that was given any of us had refused we would have been replaced and the next man would have done it was the is the good stuff. we are talking about a conspiracy. why don't you like about human rights and color of chile here you have the right just there over there she said. but that all that and back when you was admitted to hospital 10 months ago. he
could only walk in paying it. and his right hip had been smashed to pieces in a car accident in belarus ury fled to a german speaking region in the alps which shall remain unnamed his application for asylum is still pending then 41 years old yuri received a hip replacement at a hospital in his host country. he has been scarred for life not only by the accident which he thinks was an attempt on his life but also by an event that turned him into a criminal and destroyed his family. moved to the shores why i left my family in 2008 hours after the attempt on my life yep when i realized that my wife and daughter were sacred to me and so i decided to get divorced but. since then i have lived a life all sorts of them. during no longer felt safe in his home country because he
wanted to speak out get the burden off his chest as he explains he alleges that his former comrades from the mint security unit were pursuing him. the plural form of i had information that they were either arrest me or imprisonment is. the live i didn't want to sit in jail or make a confession. or be accused of something i hadn't done it the book i was doing on them. eerie was involved in a crime that has shaken people in eastern europe to this day the old fire station in the heart of minsk this is where the former minister of the interior yuri's eco ranko parked his car on the evening of may 7th 1999. zachary and co was a key figure of the opposition as always he was the last few metres to his home. in
. the reconstruction of the crime is based on the account of the key witness yuri grab scheme 2 men follow saccharin code so he is unable to escape. 2 more men block his path ahead they are soldiers dressed in plain clothes they belong to the special unit. one of the men says they are policeman and that he needs to go with them. 20 years ago the political situation in minsk was dramatic the former minister of the interior decorating co had changed sides and was now the head of the opposition tens of thousands of protesters were on the streets trying to prevent their country from becoming a dictatorship. with 2 controversial referenda bella ruse president lukashenko made a bid to gain total power and exclude parliament the people's representatives in
parliament went on a hunger strike in vain. but the. since then has been ruling almost single handedly belarus is seen as the last dictatorship in europe a police state in its purest form. previously as minister of the interior zakk a rank i had tried to bring the country more and more towards the west on a visit to bonn he signed an agreement on police cooperation with germany. it was not going to use the world. as it was. this move led to a clash with the president whose rule became increasingly authoritarian the opposition rallied and military officers joined forces with them with the aim of ousting look at. all the only. dear
friends. black ravens are circling above our land. that's why the national congress came together yesterday to protect the constitution against the dictatorship. back then our witness yuriko rob ski was 18 years old during his military service he joined a special unit and was soon integrated into a newly founded intervention force called saba where he spent 5 years finally receiving a promotion. he keeps copies of important documents in the refugee home where he's staying and tells us that the originals are in a safe place and. this is my membership card for the special units veterans association. people are served in the fighting units of the ministry of internal advance get one of these i was deputy commander in the 1st group this is the card
you get if you were in the sober. bella ruse has several special units made up of hardened soldiers who are loyal to their president here they show what they're capable of in the men's football stadium images from 20 years ago. sawbones mission was to tackle smugglers and the mafia but our witness says that wasn't their sole task sauber was also deployed to forcibly eliminate the opposition. this is. in this summary i made a note of who was involved in the elimination of zachary and co on may the 7th and who was involved in eliminating concha on september 16th. series a list of all the people who knew about it and who were involved is this. who all the orders were given verbal. just all of them there is no written evidence
because of the over dia recordings no minutes reports or anything like that of. all of. the corn sure it was probably on behalf of president luther shenk or lib i don't know i can't say. lin's not anymore who is. zachary and co does not put up a fight. in the car he tells his kidnappers please do it painlessly the car leaves minsk heading north. bellerose 1st became an
independent state after the collapse of the soviet union since 1991 minsk has been the capital of a nation with around 10000000 citizens. a statue of lenin leader of the revolution and founder of the soviet union stands in front of the seat of government even today a very soviet style is much in evidence a corner building on independence straight houses the ministry of internal affairs once the work place of you is occurring next door the headquarters of the intelligence service the k.g.b. back then as today a field center of power all 8 of all chick has suffered a great deal of persecution and suppression by the state the civil rights activist and lawyer represents the secular and her family in minsk if there were more here we are in germany at the home of soccer and has a wife this is his eldest daughter that's me in the middle and the writers are correct his wife they live in germany as political refugees.
there is an atmosphere of fear in our country if you express your opinions and you can end up in jail or be forced into corrective therapy that soviet system still exists in our country today. september 9909. and businessmen. were kidnapped. and members of the opposition to oust the president the witness tells us. thought this is the military base in radama. this this is where we killed a. dance in the road after about 200 meters it goes about 20 meters into the forest this. this is where we killed concha and christophe skis to blog
the borderland here about 50 meters away as grave was done because this will this would spawn bullets well dressed them and burned their clothing here only their shoes were tossed into the grave and buried with them. is a. really after time victor gone child was the head of the central election commission he stood up against president who wanted more power gone child was trying to stop him brute force was deployed against going char and his staff during the referendum $34.00 of the 4th star ship it started k.g.b. agents and special units blocked their offices. preventing gunshot from entering the washroom put you on their property the witness from the death squad tells us that there was a reward of a $1000.00 for murdering gunshot. if you can across
a lot of really just north america and they were given a reason for getting rid of gone china. in the store when we were told later on charge had evidence showing that lucas shank a come to power illegitimately and that the vote in 1996 was rigged. but in the storm but gone child was in possession of this evidence. he. told us afterwards that we had eliminated him because of this compromising material that we were looking for. going char zakhar vento and cross off ski with the most prominent victims of the looks shanghai regime but they were not the only ones. every year the vigil in minsk commemorates the victims.
with the disappearance of the 3 politicians the country's chances of democratic development also vanished this was good news there is remorse there is a sense of guilt if these people were still alive things would be different in belarus today. a lot of things would be better today and most importantly there would be no fear we would have a say in things of saccharine corner gone char was still alive. only vote shows us a figure of an angel. it's a present from elena the eldest daughter of the minister of the interior who disappeared visits in germany. she said this angel is for you ellen as a committed her self it's
a guardian angel. on the evening of may 7th 1999 yuri 2nd rank how had nobody to help protect him. the death squad drove him to a military training ground around 20 minutes outside of minsk. the pistol that was used to assassinate him was a special model built for close range use the official weapon for executions in belarus.
in northern germany this is where. family lives in exile his widow 2 daughters and grandchildren who never saw the grandfather. is the eldest daughter she works as a saleswoman and is the only member of her family to publicly discuss their plight . she and her family came to germany a year after her father disappeared and reluctantly applied for asylum. but now was so happy you're here and when we arrived in germany we already had tickets for our return flight we came here to report in a democratic country on the situation in our home country. that was all we were planning to do is still on us last absolutely able but then we got a call that the k.g.b.
had started criminal investigations accusing us of vilifying the honor and dignity of the belarus president and the state because it's actually the so that's. today is the 1st time that eleanor zechariah has heard about the witness and his statement regarding the details of her father's death. at 1st she is skeptical and struggles with her emotions so. i hope the facts are true and they can be tracked. of course it is difficult to hear about this and to see the burial sites. let alone to hear how it happened i think that. you need nerves of steel and yes we need. are the facts correct they could be initial answers to this question in strasbourg
crystal and i got to listen to the witness statement great is a defense lawyer from cyprus 15 years ago he investigated the disappearance of the bellerose opposition politicians for the council of europe. is still following the cases today the council of europe scrutinizes human rights and all the more closely in the case of bella reduce their ability we have today to run the vinci investigation but iris seems very small. that's a problem well the file as far as we are concerned never close the file would close the day when a probe an investigation is conducted and there are findings as to up hold up until these disappear people it's impossible for these abductions and murders to have taken place without the consent to put it mildly
of very very high officials and when i say very high officials. my mind goes to the president. who was north of la he knew about it maybe he didn't know but i can't be sure but i think he did not. accusations that barely reach alexander lukashenko for many years the president of bella reuss was not welcome in the west that changed in nov 29th cheney. the austrian president received the dictator from minsk in vienna it was look at those photos visit to an e.u. country in many years. at the press conference the question of the opposition politicians who disappeared was right used. did not answer but he admitted that he rules his country in an
authoritarian mannah. puts it i also want the citizens of our country to be absolutely sovereign and independent as we know that we are only a self-sufficient and independent and our citizens are only as free as our situation allows us and that situation is very complicated this muscle actually. up to murdering zecher into the killers drug but to minsk.
gorecki says he had no choice he had to take part in the assassination. so that the will doing him was but there was no girl in the limelight of question that the ground inside of there but when a young man receives an order either your part of the system or you are not. yeah so i knew i had to follow this through the bulls of the country if i had failed i would have ended up in the same hole in the ground. because the high income. for the council of europe investigators 2nd rank those murder was clearly the work of a death squad. 'd a death wish walk. by publish a book 'd. for peace or just. the officer allegedly responsible has already been named in an official document from minsk
which was passed to investigators from the bellerose public prosecutor's office at that school. house. on behalf of the state that's why they used the pistol from or that will use for the visual executions. just to give it an appearance that these were all peaceful executions. and that's a kind of message does yours open and say you know this is not obvious sure but it is really us with this so someone to put the pressure to put the terror on the orders. after the murder the assassins bring the body back to minsk. the car leaves the city mouse away and heads for symmetry. the group commander colonel disappears with the corpse in the direction of the
crematorium there is no trace of the body after that. the witness statement severely incriminates dimitri pavlyuchenko a highly decorated officer in the bellows ministry of internal affairs did the man who deployed this of a special unit as a death squad also murder the opposition politicians. we soldiers were just carrying out orders we only arrested the man when. we didn't pull the trigger we didn't carry out the liquidation order. that he was the one who pulled the trigger our witness is not obliged to incriminate himself therefore some doubts still remain as to what actually happened the families of those left behind continue to demand justice for the events of 20 years ago gorecki has a message for them but most of all for the relatives of the dead.
but i express my deepest condolences. i was involved in these murders and i offer my apologies and i can show you where they are buried on the matter you know what i'm doing. everything else depends on you and the judicial system in belarus a lot of this is. words of remorse which need to be processed. on the hook to kill ken i accepted. exactly how big it almost girl he was and what i thought they had chosen people with no family or relatives in bella ruse to carry out the assassinations so that they could also be liquidated afterwards at the thing that at the going out. of i'm surprised that
a witness has turned up who was willing to talk about it openly. about it to a close. eleanor zachary and co finds her response later directed at the man who was an accessory to the murder of her father. at the new one. if you will it's just it's not about him it's about the whole system behind him and you just said he said we cannot be blamed personally. and that but you knew she died for the power yes people like him are dependent on the system and are forced to commit it's gruesome crimes. even if i said this to him i can't say it to the thousands of others who served with him mr bush. the political system in bellerose systematically violates human rights the flags of 47 member states can be seen outside the council of europe building in strasbourg the bella reuss flag is not among them in order to become
a member bella reuss would 1st have to face up to its past otherwise it will remain an outsider in europe you can consider society as a wealthy and i would say a consolidated society without the arbitrary and the capacity to the possibility to know what's happened we can't condone that but 1st we must know must clearly know what is responsible and. in forth is apparent is a way to i try i think they all democracies of europe. we do not. accept bilateral. without solving the important issue of that is appearances and many other problems as well the other axis is not only these problems but.
these i can describe it as an important and. the tip of the ice spec we should everybody sees but. they've been there what are they are these have be. civil rights and liberties of violated in belarus it's the only country in europe with the death penalty is still in full list the media is firmly in the hands of the state there is hope for change mainly among young people and human rights activists who can still remember the events of 20 years ago when the opposition was brutally eliminated there either through floods i believe that the disappearance of the politicians and deloris will be resolved it's no longer just a matter for the government history has taught us that. in latin america similar cases were investigated 30 years later and are still being investigated. and bella
reuss is in europe of. europe has not forgotten bellerose all the opposition politicians who disappeared. human rights activists from amnesty international have planted trees for them in the dutch city of and hovan. one see it as an hour's vigil in the growth of remember and. when i get a letter most of that letter writing we are wounded by our past in this war and
will never heal. it will always open up again in our memories in our dreams. of not being able to say goodbye to someone not being able to bury him is the worst punishment. there is. because i knew. the past is a lifelong burden. it is only when the murders have been resolved that this burden may become lifetime for those left behind as well as the boundary.
com megacities the. click term. this is the w. news y. but from berlin tonight they descended and they disappear did death squads in the former soviet republic of belarus silence political opposition in a d.-w. news exclusive we'll hear from this me on who says he was one of the killers why is he talking now and can we believe what he said also coming up protestors in the