war crimes in Ukraine

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PACE committee suggests lines of enquiry for bringing to justice those who ordered murder of Georgiy Gongadze


Strasbourg, 24.06.2008 – The investigation into the murder of Ukrainian journalist Georgiy Gongadze cannot be considered solved until the “instigators and organisers” are held to account in addition to the actual perpetrators of the crime, according to the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

In a report adopted today, the committee welcomed the recent conviction of three former Interior Ministry police officers for the murder, but said Ukrainian prosecutors should:

• vigorously pursue authentification of the so-called “Melnychenko recordings” – in which former President Kuchma and three other senior officials allegedly discuss disposing of Gongadze – with the participation of foreign experts, so that they can be used as evidence in court if necessary;

• pursue other methods of authenticating the recordings, such as interrogating as witnesses those allegedly recorded, and comparing their discussions with actual events;

• investigate how General Pukach, the immediate superior of the convicted police officers and allegedly present at the murder, was released from custody and reportedly able to escape arrest in Israel.

The report’s author Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (Germany, ALDE) said she had done her best to broker an arrangement between Mr Melnychenko, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General and the US Department of Justice to enable technical analysis of the recordings. Mr Melnychenko had requested international involvement to exclude any “foul play”, she said.

The report can be found on the PACE website


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