The Vitalyi Markiv acquittal verdict reasons declared by the Court of Appeal of Milan mark a crucial turning point in the trial for the murder of Andy Rocchelli and Andrej Mironov. We deeply looked into the acquittal reasons and we want to share a summary, in addition to a consideration of ours, because this document brings many important facts.
All the defense requests for the investigation renewal are rejected. The reliability of the key witnesses is confirmed. In particular, the document defines as unfounded the defense criticism towards the depositions of the photographer William Roguelon and the Italian journalists. Finally, the reconstruction of the events done by the Pavia Assize Court are confirmed to be correct and extensively proven. Let’s briefly recap the main points of the events reconstruction of the events that have been so difficult to piece together, but that have been confirmed once again by the Court of Appeal.
Andy and Andrei went to a place that had previously been bombarded, but they went there when no conflicts were happening at that moment. They went there to carry out their professional activity as war photojournalists. They were identified by the Ukrainian National Guard having them all the elements to identify them as civilians: from their clothes to the taxi sign. As it is reported at page 58 of the document with the reasons of the sentence, “Those people informed the captains who gave the order to shoot also informing the army about the coordinates for pointing the mortars against them”. There were not russian supporters, nor provocations. In the document again is written “It was an order illegittemily given, because violating the regulations aiming to protect the civilians”. Following that, the shoots aimed at the target lasted half an hour and had the physical elimination of the journalists.
This is the truth, and it is a truth bringing heavy implications. In Sloviansk, the Ukrainian Army committed crimes against humanity, violating the international law. Andy didn’t go to the wrong place, he had not been imprudent, he didn’t happened to be in the crossfire. Andy was murdered together with his colleague Andrej, following a deliberated order by the Ukrainian chain of command with the aim of getting rid of them.
Therefore, why and what does imply Markiv’s absolution?
It is due to a procedural mistake. It is proven that Markiv was working in service on the Karachun hill the day of the attack. The only element that situated him surely in the position from where the attack started is linked to a series of depositions by fellow soldiers and superiors, among which his direct superior, Bogdan Matkiwsky. As for those people subsisted evidences of link, the criminal code establishes that their depositions could only be given in presence of a defensor and following a specific ritual, making those depostions not less trustworthy, but inadmissible from a procedural point of view. The reasonable doubt comes from that: it is known that Markiv was there, but it is known thanks to evidences that are not admissible. It is known that the Ukrainian army is guilty, but the the civil responsibility of the army is juridically linked to Markiv’s penal sentence. Therefore, since the latter is absolved due to shortage of evidences, the Ukrainian responsibility is not juridically admissible either.
To sum it up, it is known what happened, it is known who was due to, but it is not possible to have justice, due to a formal fault. What is missing is justice here, not the truth. This is why we cannot give up: we go ahead by the side of Andy’s family along the path till the Court of Appeal. We understand that the penal procedure must respect the juridical rules, but we cannot accept that a wicked crime against humanity that violates the Geneva Convention is left unpunished just due to a quibble. We understand the law, but there is no justice yet. The path is still long and difficult. The path of human beings is like that, made of small big achievements, but also of high obstacles and cheap shots. We hold tight to the truth achieved, but surely do not stop there. Now we want justice. And we carry on.