Justice for Georgiy Gongadze
The poster reads: Kuchma - where is Gongadze?
Reporters Without Borders is demanding a complete and thorough investigation into the Georgiy Gongadze case, as news came today that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office had called for new DNA tests to be conducted by German and Swiss experts to determine conclusively that the headless corpse found in a Kyiv suburb ditch was indeed that of the crusading journalist, who is widely believed to have been murdered on orders from President Kuchma or his close associates. Earlier DNA tests requested by his mother established within a 99.991% range that the body was related to her, so there is little doubt that it is indeed Gongadze's body.
The worldwide press freedom organization said that Viktor Yushchenko must do everything possible to follow the case up to the highest levels in order to clear up conclusively the case which has already dragged on for more than 4 years.
I am confident that the Yushchenko government will do everything in its power to follow this investigation to a satisfactory conclusion. Leaving corruption like this to fester will eventually rot the entire body politic, even if the previous administration is out of office. Malfeasance, corruption, bribery -- these things can be swept under the rug in order to maintain some peace in transition, much as the Bush administration did not want to make a big deal out of the childish vandalism that was committed by the outgoing Clintonites. There is a certain comity and pardon allowed to former presidents, lest future presidents become subject to hounding and imprisonment following their leaving office.
But murder should never be allowed to go unpunished -- especially murder intended to silence political speech. Gongadze ran an internet news site called Pravda.com which was highly critical of the Kuchma government.
Internet bloggers and newshounds take note, some of your counterparts in many parts of the world risk their very lives to report the truth. The right of free speech means nothing without the right to life.
"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.
. . 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.
Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.