Ukraine Must Seize Opportunity of Confessions to Reporter's Murder to Reveal Truth, Says IFJ

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that the arrest on

Tuesday of General Oleksiy Pukach, the main suspect in the murder of Ukrainian

journalist Georgy Gongadze who was killed in 2000, and his reported confessions

to the killing provide authorities with a unique opportunity to reveal the

truth about this vicious crime and bring to justice all those who were

responsible for it.  

"This

is the moment of truth which Georgy's family and colleagues have been waiting

for," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ

President. "The authorities must not miss this opportunity to uncover the ring

leaders in this crime."

According

to reports quoting senior police sources in Ukraine, General Oleksiy Pukach who was arrested on

Tuesday has confessed to Georgy's murder and reportedly indicated that other

senior politicians were involved.

 

Pukach

was the chief of the interior ministry's surveillance department in 2000 when

Georgy, publisher of the Internet

journal Ukrainska Prawda , was

kidnapped and his beheaded body found months later. The journalist had been

investigation corruption at senior levels of the Ukrainian government led by former

President Leonid Kuchma.

 

The

IFJ and its affiliates from all over the world have been campaigning to obtain

justice for George. They joined the United States,

the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, along with every other major human rights and

journalism pressure group, in voicing concern over the Government's handling of

the case.

 

In

particular, the IFJ published a report  in 2003 "Unity For

Justice :The Challenge of Change for Journalism in the Ukraine" which denounced

the lack of commitment to solve Georgy's murder following a joint mission of

inquiry to Ukraine with the National Union of Journalists in UK and Ireland(NUJ),

an IFJ affiliate.

 

In 2008, three former policemen, Mykola Protasov, Valeriy Kostenko and Oleksandr

Popovych, who

were charged with killing Georgy were convicted and sentenced to jail terms.  Former Minister of Interior, Yuri Kravchenko who was also linked to the murder

allegedly committed suicide,

reports say.

"The murder of Georgy has

been a tale of turns and twists which many believe were diversionary tactics to

shield powerful individuals who are behind it from accountability," added

Boumel. "That is no longer an option with the arrest of Pukach and the

information he is able to disclose. We expect the whole truth and nothing but

the truth."

For more information

contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide