Kyiv, July 25 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Kyiv Pechersky District Court has announced a break in the consideration of a criminal case against Oleksiy Pukach, the former head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s external surveillance department, on charges of the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze until September 4, thus enabling parties to the trial to exercise their vacation entitlement.
Valentyna Telychenko, the lawyer for the journalist’s widow, Myroslava Gongadze, told Interfax-Ukraine that the court announced a decision to adjourn the hearing at its meeting on Tuesday.
According to her, out of a total of thirteen witnesses, the court has questioned eleven. They still need to question two witnesses, whose whereabouts are being established by the prosecutor’s office, she said.
Telychenko said that she intended to request questioning of additional witnesses, as the testimony of those who had been questioned didn’t give enough grounds to establish the circumstances and the motive of the crime.
Gongadze went missing in Kyiv on September 16, 2000. A decapitated corpse, which experts claimed could be that of Gongadze, was found in a forest outside Kyiv in November 2000. In May 2010, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko stated that fragments of a skull found in July 2009 in Kyiv region belonged to Gongadze.
In 2008, three former officers from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry External Surveillance and Criminal Intelligence Department, Col. Valeriy Kostenko, Col. Mykola Protasov, and Maj. Oleksandr Popovych, were found guilty of killing Gongadze. Former head of the Interior Ministry’s External Surveillance Department Oleksiy Pukach, another suspect in the case, was detained in the Zhytomyr region on July 21, 2009.
The Prosecutor General’s Office declared that former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko ordered to murder Gongadze, following the statement the court sent the case for additional investigation. Pukach is accused of having committed the murder.
[UA EUROPE EEU EMRG CRIM POL PRO]