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Ukraine17 February 2005

Call for genuine progress in Gongadze murder case as new DNA tests sought

Reporters Without Borders has again called for a thorough investigation into alleged top level responsibility for the murder of journalist Géorgiy Gongadze as the Ukraine prosecutor general’s office said German and Swiss experts would do new DNA tests on the body.

Newly-elected president, Viktor Yushchenko, must do everything possible to see that, more than four years after the killing, the Kiev prosecutor-general’s office comprehensively clears up the Gongadze murder, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

The identity of the decapitated body, found in a forest in Tarashcha district near the capital Kiev on 2 November 2000, was not in any doubt, it said. "We demand a through investigation that will establish the complete chain of responsibility for Gongadze’s murder right up to the highest level.

"We will not be fobbed off with the mere window-dressing of yet another DNA test only intended to demonstrate the new Ukrainian authorities’ goodwill to international opinion and the journalist’s family.

"It is more than time for the entire truth to be told about this horrifying case and new tests are not enough," said the organisation.

The prosecutor’s office announced on 16 February 2005 that it had asked Swiss and German experts at the Institute of forensic medicine in Munich, Germany to carry out new DNA tests.

An independent DNA test was carried out in January 2003, at the Institute of forensic medicine in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the request of the journalist’s mother, Lessia Gongadze and Reporters Without Borders. The probability of a family link between Lessia and the body found in Tarashcha was then put at higher than 99,991%. This test removed any doubt that the decapitated body was indeed that of Géorgiy Gongadze, editor of the online publication pravda.com.

But Reporters Without Borders said that revelations made throughout 2004 by the British daily The Independent, implicating former interior minister Yuri Kravchenko and highlighting the suspicious death in prison of former police officer Igor Goncharov, key witness in the case, had not resulted in the opening of a just and fair trial. Nor had any action been taken against former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, even though there was no evidence clearing him of blame.




  In this country
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Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
15 March - Ukraine
Three former policemen convicted of Gongadze murder but instigators have yet to identified
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Gongadze murder trial resumes in Kiev
14 September - Ukraine
Political will lacking to solve Gongadze murder seven years after his death
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