war crimes in Ukraine

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The comment on the official request of the IMI to the General Prosecutor’s office concerning the documents of former DFOC officer Igor Goncharov


Sergiy Taran, the vice-president of the Institute of mass information

More than once the authorities stated that there was no information in the letters of I. Goncharov, a former DFOC officer, which would help in the investigation of the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. In the connection with these statements and taking into account the fact that the Institute of mass information conducts its own investigation of G. Gongadze’s murder, the IMI prepared the official request to the General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine.

On 11 August 2003 Mr. Medvedko, a deputy of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, officially stated that there was nothing new for them in the materials received from the IMI. So, the facts about the close cooperation of criminal and power structures are not interesting for the prosecutor’s office. Yet, it is obvious that these facts will worry the Ukrainian public, because the facts described by Goncharov evidence that concrete top state officials were connected with the activities of the group of “turnskins”, moreover, they shielded the group. Well, if the prosecutor’s office had already known about these facts, then why the criminal cases were not started, which would not only disclose the organizers of Gongadze’s murder, but, maybe, would also change the political situation in Ukraine.

Yet, if the prosecutor’s office still has not arrested any of the authorities connected with Gongadze’s case, whose names we learned from the letter of Goncharov, then one can suppose that the workers of the prosecutor’s office did not believe in the facts stated in the letter, although they “checked” them. However, it is strange that the prosecutor’s office did not refute the facts presented by Goncharov, since the accusations are very serious: they concern not only the honor of the agency, but the honor of the state as a whole. The diligence, with which the prosecutor’s office insists on the nothingness of Goncharov’s documents, resembles the times, when the prosecutor’s office was headed by Potebenko, when any information about the probable connection of top state officials with the kidnapping of the journalist were rejected as impossible.

Maybe the prosecutor’s office does not believe that the letters were really written by Goncharov? Then why they did not interrogate him officially, when he was still alive? Why the prosecutor’s office did not seize the material evidences from the place, which was indicated by Goncharov in his letter to the General Prosecutor? Why the prosecutor’s office is so sure that there is “nothing new” among these evidences?

The IMI, on the basis of Article 40 of the Ukrainian Constitution and Articles 9, 32 and 33 of the Law of Ukraine “On information”, turned with the official request to General Prosecutor of Ukraine Sviatoslav Piskun. The representatives of the IMI ask to inform:

-  Why the case on the premeditated murder of Georgiy Gongadze is investigated so slowly, if the information communicated by Goncharov “had been known already for a long time”?

-  Why Goncharov was not interrogated, although, according to the information given by his advocate Smorodin, he was more than once visited by a top officer from the General Prosecutor’s office?

-  Why the prosecutor’s office did not seize the material evidences, although Goncharov indicated the place, where they were stored, in his letter to the General Prosecutor?

When we passed the copies of Goncharov’s letters to the General Prosecutor’s office, we hoped that the prosecutor’s office would thoroughly check the facts contained in these letters. We also hoped that the investigation of Gongadze’s case would be more transparent. Yet, neither of these hopes was justified. For several times we tried to get the comments from Sergiy Khomula, the former head of the Kyiv DFOC, whom Goncharov accused of the application of torture. Yet, all our attempts were vain, and we learned from our unofficial sources that it was allegedly prohibited to Khomula to communicate with journalists at all. Yes, we understand that the secret of investigation exists. Yet, we also hope that the law-enforcing organs understand that citizens have the right for information, and journalists have the right to conduct their investigations.

(“The Poltava oblast media club”, No. 42, 19 August 2003)

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