IFJ Report Finds ‘Partial Justice' in Hunt for Killers of Journalists in Russia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today

launched ‘Partial Justice' report, a review into the deaths of more than 300 Russian journalists since 1993, at a conference in Moscow hosted by the Russian Union of Journalists.

"The murder of Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006

shocked the world. Yet for every Anna, there have been many less widely known

journalists killed for their work across Russia,"

said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.

"For the first time this report and the accompanying

database present a comprehensive record of these murders, whether taking place

in cross-fires in conflict zones, or homicide and contract killings, whether

journalists killed for their work or in unexplained accidents, or even for

personal dealings."

The IFJ review shows that of the 313 journalists'

deaths in Russia since 1993

 

Up to

124 have died as a direct result of their journalism;


  • 19 were clearly murdered for their journalism and another 19 cases reveal strong evidence to suggest they were also killed for their work, most of whom died outside and far from Moscow ;

 

  • 189 of the deaths appear to be unrelated to their work. 

 

    The report also reveals that the total impunity that

    existed for killers of journalists until 1997 has gradually receded and that an

    increasing number of investigations have led to prosecutions and a form of

    ‘Partial Justice'.

    The ten cases brought to trial of journalists killed

    for their work since 1997 saw a 50 per cent conviction rate. Of these, however,

    only two led to the jailing of all those responsible for the murder.

    Crucially, the report confirms that the masterminds

    of attacks on journalists are getting away with murder. Over the past 15 years

    those who ordered the killings and arranged for the hire of assassins and their

    payment have hardly ever been charged, let alone prosecuted. 

    The report examines six case studies of killed

    journalists in depth, reviewing the circumstances around the death, the

    response of the authorities and the reasons behind the failure of the

    investigation.  These analyses reveal the

    weaknesses of the investigations by police and the prosecutor's office,

    especially when dealing with the targeted killings of journalists.

    A data base launched alongside the report details the

    circumstances surrounding the deaths of more than 300 journalists in Russia.

    The first of its kind http://journalists-in-russia.org/journalists/ classifies these deaths (and disappearances) into five different categories -,

    homicide, accident, crossfire, terrorist act, incident not confirmed and

    missing.

    The report includes the following recommendations to

    the Russian authorities:

    Measures must be taken to tackle the total impunity

    that persists in parts of the country where no one has yet been prosecuted for

    the murder of a journalist, in particular the North Caucasus (including

    Chechnya) and St Petersburg.

    Greater support should be provided for investigations

    and prosecutions where a journalist has been killed for their work.

    Crimes against journalists often have distinctive

    features; the Prosecutor General's office should establish a nationwide

    database on journalists' crimes to identify these features and develop

    guidelines to maximize chances of successful investigations.

    Some crimes, particularly contract killings, would

    benefit from being investigated by teams from outside the region where they

    have been committed.

    Findings of investigations should be accessible for

    review by victim's families and lawyers.

    Consider making the killing of a journalist a more

    serious offence.

    "The world journalists' community is

    grateful to all the monitors and researchers who worked hard to produce

    the most outstanding record of journalists killed in Russia,"

    added Boumelha. "It is now up to government agencies, prosecutors and the

    police to act swiftly in bringing the killers to justice and to make journalism

    safer."

    The review is an initiative of the International Federation

    of Journalists in collaboration with the Russian

    Union of Journalists, the Glasnost Defence Foundation and the Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations. This is

    part of world Congress in Moscow

    in 2007.

     

    The IFJ Partial Justice Report is available here in English

     

     

    For

    further information contact IFJ on        +

    32 2 235 22 07 (+32 473 973 837)     

    The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

    in 123 countries worldwide