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Investigation of crimes allegedly committed by high officials during the Kuchma rule in Ukraine: the Gongadze case as an emblematic example

Recommendation 1856 (2009)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 27 January 2009 (4th Sitting) (see Doc. 11686, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mrs Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 January 2009 (4th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly, stressing the importance of the vigorous prosecution of crimes against journalists and political activists, refers to its Resolution 1645 (2009).
2. It invites the Committee of Ministers to continue to follow closely the implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Gongadze case and to ensure, in co-operation with the Ukrainian authorities, that all necessary investigative measures are speedily carried out, including:
2.1 the vigorous pursuit of the authentification of the “Melnychenko recordings”, with the participation of foreign experts;
2.2 the pursuit of other available methods of establishing the authenticity of these recordings, such as the interrogation as witnesses of persons whose voices were allegedly recorded, and comparisons between discussions allegedly recorded and actual events;
2.3 the opening of a criminal investigation into the responsibility for the failure to protect Georgiy Gongadze and a proper investigation into his disappearance, as established by the European Court of Human Rights;
2.4 an investigation into the circumstances in which General Pukach was released from custody in 2003, and was later reportedly able to escape arrest in Israel, and to open criminal cases against those responsible, as appropriate;
2.5 the re-examination of the circumstances of the death of the late Minister of the Interior, Yuriy Kravchenko, and an investigation also into a possible crime of inciting a person to commit suicide;
2.6 the interrogation as witnesses of other senior staff members or former staff members of the Ministry of the Interior who may have information on the special unit headed by General Pukach;
2.7 an investigation into the exact circumstances in which two former senior officials allegedly linked to the Gongadze case suffered strokes within a short period of time, resulting in the death of Mr Dagaev and Mr Fere’s falling into a coma.
3. Finally, it invites the Committee of Ministers to encourage all member and observer states of the Council of Europe to consider favourably any request for legal co-operation they may have received or may still receive from the Ukrainian authorities with a view to elucidating the full circumstances of the murder of Georgiy Gongadze.