Joint Statement on Ninth Anniversary of Gyorgy Gongadze's Death

It is now nine years since the murder of our colleague

Gyorgy Gongadze on 16 September 2000, and on this occasion we once again call

on the Ukrainian authorities to undertake a proper investigation of those who

ordered the killing.

The brutal kidnap and murder of Gyorgy, which took place

after senior Ukrainian politicians had discussed harming him, was notorious,

because it underlined the impunity with which those with power could use assassination

as a means to silence journalists.

This summer there have been important developments in the

case. Olexiy Pukach, who has been named by investigators and in court

proceedings as the murderer, has been arrested. It has been reported that, as a

result of information that Pukach gave to prosecutors, a skull that is almost

certainly Gyorgy's has been recovered. 

These steps forward in the investigation are welcome. But

they should not conceal the stark truth: that no discernible progress has been made

in determining how, and by whom, the killing was ordered. The issues raised in

that regard - by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, by

ourselves, and by our Ukrainian colleagues - have been almost completely

ignored by the investigating authorities.

There were many obvious leads that could have been followed,

to determine the patterns of command in the internal affairs ministry and the

government of the time. The trial and conviction of Pukach's three accomplices

in 2008 opened up even more avenues than there were before. But most of these

potential streams of information have been allowed to run dry.


The fourth of our reports monitoring the investigation of

Gongadze's murder, published today, covers these issues in detail.

On this anniversary of Gyorgy's tragic death, we call:

-- On the Ukrainian authorities to review and renew the

investigation into those who ordered the killing, and to ensure that

they are brought to justice;

-- On the Ukrainian authorities to instigate criminal proceedings

against senior officials who have deliberately obstructed the investigation;

-- On governments and civil society across Europe

to continue the fight against impunity for those in positions of power who

sanction and organise violence against journalists.


Aidan White, General Secretary, International

Federation of Journalists

Myroslava Gongadze, The Gongadze Foundation

Jeremy Dear, National Union of Journalists of UK and Ireland

Alla Lazareva, Institute

of Mass Information