PACE Co-rapporteur: “The authorities have not done all they could to solve the Gongadze case”


During her visit to Kyiv, PACE Co-rapporteur Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger spoke with a Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service correspondent regarding the Gongadze case and changes to the Constitution.

She was asked how effective in her view constitutional reform was being carried out in Ukraine.

“In general in Ukraine it’s very difficult at present to get a qualified majority for any decision on changes to the Constitution. For that reason I see this whole story, so to speak, as a matter for the distant future, and don’t think decisions will be made so quickly”

How justified in your view are frequent amendments to the Constitution? At present the President has proposed again making changes, for example, a two house parliament.

I think that from a long-term perspective it would be sensible to make changes that would enable clearer and more distinct division of power between the President, the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers. As far as a two-house parliament is concerned, all the pros and cons need to be carefully considered since different countries have different practice and conditions. As far as Ukraine is concerned, the decision needs to be well considered and should be based on a long-term perspective. It should not be a decision based on particular circumstances of the moment or particular ends”.

You were the PACE Rapporteur over the Gongadze case. Do you feel that the Ukrainian authorities have make sufficient effort to solve the case?

In my view the Gongadze case is still not solved since the Ukrainian authorities have still not done all possible to establish who ordered the killing and bring them to justify. I cannot therefore regard the case as closed, for me it remains open.

How do you view the suggestion made, for example, by former President Leonid Kuchma that Georgy Gongadze might still be alive?

You know that assertion is not backed by the evidence. If one is to speak of the essence of the case, then as a result of the investigation parts of a body were found which according to numerous analyses, including foreign ones, were considered with 99.5% likelihood to be the remains of Georgy Gongadze. In our commission we therefore concluded that the journalist was murdered.

Asked about the possibility that Ukraine would cancel its non-visa regime for Europeans, Ms Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said that she would regret this, but that since in her country, Germany, visas are required for Ukrainian nationals, she would be able to accept such a decision.

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