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Ukraine28 January 2002

Gongadze case and the Council of Europe

Attorney general’s new stratagem to delay the investigation

On 25 January 2002, during an interview with Interfax, Alexeï Baganets, deputy general attorney of the court, announced that the Council of Europe had decided not to create an international investigating commission on the disappearance and murder of the journalist Géorgiy Gongadze, under the pretext that such a commission would be contrary to the Ukrainian law.

And yet, that declaration is a fallacy. Reporters Sans Frontières regards that announcement as another stratagem used by the Ukrainian authorities to delay the identification of Georgiy Gongadze’s murderers. If Antanas Valeonis, President of the minister Committee of the Council of Europe and Lithuanian minister of Foreign Affairs, acknowledged that the Ukrainian law did not allow, as things are at present, the creation of an investigation commission, he did not say it would not occur. Indeed, three deputies of the Ukrainian Parliament are presently working at a bill designed to become the legal framework enabling foreign investigators to search in Ukraine. Moreover, Hanne Severinsen, Ukraine rapporteur at the Council of Europe sent, on January 24, a letter to the minister Committee of the Council of Europe asking to speed up the creation of the independent investigation commission.

Reporters Sans Frontières reminds that on 27 September 2001, the Council of Europe had issued a recommendation for the creation of that investigation commission and that to be effective, this latter has to be ratified by the minister Committee of the Council of Europe.

Besides, Alexeï Baganets announced today that he would ask the German authorities to let a third expertise of the body found in Tarachtcha be carried out, without stipulating the day nor who would perform the autopsy.

Reporters Sans Frontières considers that would a new expertise of the body be useful it will not replace a genuine investigation carried out independently on what caused the disappearance and the murder of the journalist.

Consult the press release called "Call for the creation of an international commission of inquiry on the assassination of Georgiy Gongadze"

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