Key development in Gongadze murder probe could open way to final resolution

first_img RSF_en July 23, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Key development in Gongadze murder probe could open way to final resolution News Follow the news on Ukraine Ukrainian media group harassed by broadcasting authority News February 26, 2021 Find out more UkraineEurope – Central Asia Read in russian/Читать на русском Help by sharing this information March 26, 2021 Find out more UkraineEurope – Central Asia center_img to go further Receive email alerts Related documents Дело ГонгадзеPDF – 53.13 KB News Reporters Without Borders is pleased that, after so many years, the investigation into the September 2000 murder of investigative online journalist Georgy Gongadze is finally in the process of being resolved and firmly hopes that the officials who ordered Gongadze’s murder will now be identified and brought to trial.“There has been decisive progressive of late in this investigation, which until now had been a symbol of impunity in Ukraine,” Reporters Without Borders with said. “We are deeply relieved, and moved for the Gongadze family, to learn of the confession by Gen. Olexy Pukach, the former head of foreign intelligence in the interior ministry.”The press freedom organisation added: “But we must remain vigilant. The authorities must reveal the names of the officials identified by Gen. Pukach as having given him his orders, and they must be arrested and tried. The investigation was must not be cut short after coming so far.”Valentina Telishenko, the lawyer who represents Gongadze’s widow, told Reporters Without Borders she still had doubts about the chances of the case being solved. “Unfortunately, Olexy Pukach’s arrest does not offer enough guarantees,” she said. “We fear that a lot of political pressure will be put on the prosecutor in the course of the investigation. This pressure could prevail over justice.”The recent progress began when the Kiev supreme court decided on 12 June that secret recordings made by former President Leonid Kuchma’s bodyguard, Mykola Melnichenko, could be incorporated into the investigation. Previously declared inadmissible, the recordings were expected to open the way to the identification of the senior officials believed to have ordered Gongadze’s murder.But the key development was Gen. Pukach’s arrest on 21 July in a village near the northwestern city of Zhytomyr. Vassyl Grytsak, the deputy head of the domestic security agency, the SBU, gave a news conference yesterday at which he said Pukach had confessed to strangling Gongadze on the orders of senior officials and that he had revealed their names.Pressed at the news conference to name the officials identified by Pukach and to say where the Ukrainian authorities would ensure that they do not flee the country, Grytsak said it was up to the attorney general to decide whether to release the names. Nothing had so far been decided, he said.President Viktor Yushchenko welcomed Pukach’s arrest. “The country is relieved to see this high-profile criminal case being resolved,” he said. “This means not only that the law is going to be restored in Ukraine but also that the most senior officials are going to be held responsible for their crimes.” Yushchenko added that the highest priority would be given to securing Pukach and that the heads of the SBU would be personally in charge of this.The progress towards resolution of the Gongadze case is being widely hailed in a country that is nowadays turning more and more towards the international community. Gongadze’s murder had caused widespread shock and outrage, which helped to fuel the Orange Revolution. Yushchenko had pledged as president to ensure the case was solved.Gen. Pukach has reportedly promised to show the place where Gongadze’s head was buried. The journalist’s decapitated body was found in a forest near Kiev two weeks after he was kidnapped on 16 September 2000.Aged 31 at the time of his death, Gongadze was the editor of the online newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda, in which he wrote extensively about corruption cases implicating senior members of President Kuchma’s government. Three former police officers – Mykola Protasov, Oleksandr Popovich and Valeri Kostenko – were convicted last year of carrying out Gongadze’s murder on Gen. Pukach’s orders but Pukach had eluded arrest until this week. Organisation Ukraine escalates “information war” by banning three pro-Kremlin media News Crimean journalist “confesses” to spying for Ukraine on Russian TV September 7, 2020 Find out morelast_img