IFJ Announces Launch of Independent Inquiry into Murder of Ukraine Reporter Gongadze

The International Federation of Journalists today announced the official launch of an independent inquiry – “Working Against Impunity – A Review of the Gongadze Case” - into the three-year legal and judicial stalemate surrounding the case of Gyorgy Gongadze in the Ukraine.

On 04 November, a preliminary meeting of the working commission for this case was held at the IFJ headquarters in Brussels. “After 3 years of frustration and unsuccessful attempts to get to the bottom of this case it is time to carry out a full and detailed review,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “We must not allow the passage of time to frustrate the legitimate demand for conclusive answers and the need to bring Gongadze’s killers and those responsible for his death to justice.”

The working commission will examine the apparent failure of legal and judicial processes in the Gongadze case and the reaction of institutions and civil society to the case. The inquiry will therefore not attempt to undertake any forensic investigation of the circumstances of the murder. Rather it will also look into factors that have hindered a full investigation; the response of relevant state institutions and civil society to the case and their role in advancing and/or hindering the investigation; and the weakness in legal and political systems highlighted by the case.

This meeting followed an in-depth discussion between the working commission itself and some initial members of the oversight committee for the inquiry. The commission has begun an initial level of research in reviewing the development of this case and aims to carry out a mission to Kiev early next year.

The ultimate goal of this inquiry will be to produce a final report mid-2004 that will set a precedent for press freedom in both the Ukraine and the surrounding regions. It also aims to provide a truly independent and transparent picture of the media situation in this region. A series of recommendations presented by this report will stand as a basis for policy change in the Ukrainian media.

The IFJ inquiry is being supported by its affiliates including the active support of journalists groups in the Ukraine, Sweden, Ireland/UK and the United States as well as by several press freedom groups and human rights groups.

“The time has come to produce actual results and to bring about a real change in the Ukraine,” said White.

The IFJ invites all parties who wish to present evidence to its inquiry commission to contact:

Robert Shaw

IFJ Human Rights and Information Officer

Email: robert.shaw@ifj.org

Tel.: +32 2 230 2207

For further details click on the link below:

Details of Inquiry

Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries