Gongadze Murder: Prosecutor ends investigation against Pukach
The investigation against former Police General Oleksiy Pukach who is charged with murdering Georgy Gongadze and other crimes, is over. The investigation was carried out by the Central Department of the Investigation of Particularly Serious Cases of the Prosecutor General’s Office [PGO].
According to the results, in the early hours of 17 September 2000 Pukach, acting on the instructions of the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Kravchenko and other public officials, murdered journalist Georgy Gongadze. The Prosecutor General’s Press Service states that the motive lay in Georgy Gongadze’s carrying out of his civic and journalist duties.
The PGO does not in fact name the other public officials other than Kravchenko who ordered the journalist’s murder. In this investigation both former President Kuchma and present Speaker of Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn gave testimony. The Press Service merely states that “during the investigation testimony was received from the accused and other witnesses that certain State officials could have a connection with the crimes against Gongadze and Podolsky.”
Pukach is also charged with exceeding his power and acts of violence against member of the Kyiv human rights association “My” [“We”], Oleksiy Podolsky and the destruction of official documents of the Department of the Operational Service of the MIA containing important information for the investigators about individuals who took part in carrying out the unlawful surveillance of Georgy Gongadze.
In August 2007 the GPO investigators initiated a criminal investigation under charges of exceeding their powers and official duties by officials holding particularly responsible posts which led to such results and to the murder of Georgy Gongadze.
Now from the Gongadze case they have taken out and sent to the courts a criminal file over the charges against Oleksiy Pukach. The court will also be sent material regarding former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Kravchenko and the fact that criminal proceedings are not being initiated since he is not alive.
Article 93 of the Criminal Code which Pukach is charged with covers liability for murder “carried out in connection with the victim’s carrying out of his official or civic duties”, as well as where “carried out according to a prior conspiracy by a group of individuals or an organized group”. It carries a term of imprisonment of between 8 and 15 years, or a life sentence.
At the same time the PGO is continuing its criminal investigation to establish those individuals who have a connection with the above-mentioned crimes and prove their guilt. After this the criminal file will be sent to the court.
Valentina Telychenko, who is representing Myroslava Gongadze stated on TVi that this will entail dragging out the investigation specifically regarding those who ordered the murder.
“It’s much more convenient to put before the court just one former law enforcement officer dependent on his superiors, and say that the investigation has not established the rest.”
She said also that the representatives of Myroslava Gongadze have until 21 December to become familiar with the case material which amounts to over 100 volumes. She pointed out that in such a short space of time, this was extremely difficult to do.