Troubling Silence Over Gongadze

KIEV, Ukraine -- The court ordered monetary compensation of 100,000 euros to Myroslava Gongadze and her two children. The family fled Ukraine in 2001.

Murdered reporter Georgiy Gongadze

In separate reports, the Council of Europe urged the Yushchenko administration to follow up on the findings of this case by investigating the alleged “cover up” that occurred prior to his term of office.

However, in a terse letter to Myroslava Gongadze sent one month ago, Ukraine’s Justice Department officially stated that the case surrounding the European Court ruling had been closed. Compensation was paid, but the department did not respond to allegations of investigatory misconduct.

At the same time, Myroslava Gongadze’s attorney and at least one witness in the Gongadze trial have been victims of curious criminal activity. In September, attorney Valentina Telychenko saw her car vandalized three times. First, her tires were slashed.

Then, the grill was removed from the front of her car. And finally, her car alarm was disabled. Although no one has been charged for these incidents, Telychenko believes that they are connected to her work in the trial. Her car was known, she said, and parked directly in front of the court house. She believes someone was trying to make her “unstable” and “afraid.”

One month later, a former coworker of Georgiy Gongadze returned home to find her bedroom ransacked. Nothing was stolen, and the only room disturbed was hers. Earlier, the coworker had testified that she possessed phone records possibly showing who had made threats against Gongadze in the days before his murder. She can no longer locate those records.

As these incidents occurred, the Prosecutor-General’s Office completely replaced the members of the “investigative group” examining the case – which now includes 40 huge files of witness statements and documents – significantly disrupting continuity. The new investigators are just now beginning to examine the case, according to Telychenko.

But perhaps most disturbingly, several politicians are privately questioning the identification of Gongadze’s body, suggesting that remains recently found in Slovakia may be the journalist.
Georgiy’s wife and coworkers have no doubt about the identity of the body, pointing out that it was confirmed through several different DNA tests – including one by the United States FBI. They also note that X-Rays showing several pre-existing bone injuries to Gongadze matched those of the body recovered in September 2000.

If doubt can be thrown on the identification, however, the authorities will have the right to close the current trial and open a brand new investigation. The prospect is chilling. And yet, there has been little comment from politicians who previously led protests in Gongadze’s name.

In fact, despite years of protest, the confession of two murderers, and numerous international inquiries, the investigation into those who ordered Georgiy Gongadze’s execution appears stalled. The journalist whose death ignited the first protests against Ukraine’s repressive government continues to wait for justice.

Source: Kyiv Post


Anonymous said…
The Gongadze case will never be solved, considering that ex-President Kuchma and other high-level government officials were involved.

That is the sad truth...