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