New call for journalist's killers to be brought to justice

The authorities in Ukraine are obstructing the investigation into the murder of journalist Gyorgy Gongadze, a new report claimed this week.

Those who instigated and organised the murder of Gongadze are “getting away”, according to the report, published by the NUJ, the International Federation of Journalists, the Gongadze Foundation and the Institute of Mass Information, a Kiev-based press freedom campaign group.

This Friday,(16 September) marks the fifth anniversary of the killing in 2000 of internet journalist Gongadze, whose headless body was found in a ditch in a village outside Kiev.

Shortly after that, tapes made by a bodyguard of former president Leonid Kuchma, on which the president and other ministers could be heard planning to harm Gongadze, were made public.

After the “Orange revolution”, the new president, Viktor Yushchenko, promised to make solving the murder a priority. But, as the report claims the investigation has been marked by serious negligence, and there has been political pressure to steer it away from the organisers of the crime and limit it to the immediate perpetrators.

The investigation has established that Gongadze was killed by a group of serving interior ministry officers, some of whom are expected to be tried shortly. But the leader of the group, General Olexiy Pukach, has disappeared and former interior minister Yuri Kravchenko, a key witness, has died in mysterious circumstances.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ, said: “The issue for us in the NUJ is that people with power and authority must not think that they can use violence to silence journalists and get away with it.

“That’s why this case is important for press freedom not just in Ukraine but in the whole of Europe.

Dear will lead a delegation to the Ukrainian embassy in Holland Park, London on Friday at 10.30pm. to express concern to the charge d’affaires about the lack of progress in Gongadze’s case.

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