12th July 2019

On Friday, July 12th 2019, came to an end the first phase of the trial concerning the murder of Andrea Rocchelli and Andrey Mironov and the wounds inflicted to William Roguelon.

The head of court, judge Annamaria Gatto, sentenced Vitaly Markiv guilty for his contribution to the double murder and condemned the Ukrainian state as civil authority responsible of what happened. The court requested a 24-years-long imprisonment and the permanent indiction from public offices for soldier Vitaly Markiv (7 years longer than what demanded by state prosecutor Andrea Zanoncelli).

Moreover the indicted and the Ukrainian state are due to refund the legal expenses and a reimbursement to Rocchelli’s family, Cesura and the Federation of Italian Press (FNSI).

This verdict, severe and clear, poses an end to a complex and lengthy judicial path, hindered by the non-collaborative and murky attitude of the Ukrainian authorities. Nevertheless, this conclusion confirms the thesis stated by the district attorney’s office in Pavia and by the special operation corps (ROS) in Milan, and sheds light on the thorough investigations they made. This will be an important legal precedent for the protection of the international press freedom: whatever violence perpetrated on journalists and photographers won’t be left unpunished.

Furthermore, the verdict allows the transmission of the whole set of documents of the trial to Rome, as to leave way to a new proceeding charging senator Bogdan Matkiwsky, commander of GNU and Markiv’s direct chief in 2014 on Karachun hill.


14th and 21st June: hearing in the Court

June 14th

The conclusive speeches of the accuse were delivered by the lawyers of Andy’s family, Press Federation and Cesura.

These joined the request pronounced by state prosecutor Andrea Zanoncell concerning Markiv’s detention and outlined the reasons that proved him guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. The lawyers mostly quoted the declarations given by the defense’s witnesses throughout the court hearings and confirmed the conclusions drawn by the power of attorney.

Family’s lawyer Alessandra Ballerini depicted the political context of Slaviansk and described Andy’s method as professional photoreporter.

The charges against the Ukrainian state as civil responsible of the double murder are necessarily tied to a request of refund; the amount due has been calculated according to the international law, and consists of: € 1.000.000,00 for Andy’s parents and sister, € 800.000, 00 for his partner and kid, € 15.000, 00 for Cesura.

June 21st

Conclusive speeches delivered by defense’s lawyers:

Lawyer Bertolini, representing the Ukrainian state: he declared unreliable the recount of what happened on May 24th 2014 reported by the witness William Roguelon. The lawyer therefore stated that a clear dynamic of the events cannot be reconstructed, although the origin of the mortar fire shot from the Ukrainian side has been proved long time ago. Lawyer Bertolini also claimed the Ukraininan inquiries are solid proofs (90% of the interviewed witnesses wasn’t aware of the murder or was somewhere else on May 24th) .

Lawyer Della Valle, representing the indicted soldier Markiv: the lawyer delivered a colorful 7 hours long speech that could be sum up as follows:

  • William Roguelon’s version is not valid;

  • all digital proofs are not reliable, including the selfie videos and pictures showing Markiv on Karachun hill, where the attack came from. Also all geo-referentiated data are not valid, i.e. Google maps excerpts, gps coordinated etc. (“stop with these computers!”)

  • unclear overlapping of two identities: the taxi driver and the so-called 5th man were mistakenly mentioned as the same person;

  • Markiv didn’t use guns nor mortars (he isn’t accused of shooting but rather of contributing to Andy’s death by informing the soldiers who manouvred the mortars via radio and throat mike).

Among the frequent quotations, Mr Della Valle mentioned Hobbes, Patti Pravo, Richard Gere and Totò.


The courtroom was totally too small

24th May 2019, 5 years ago Andy was killed.

The news reached each of us, in our homes, via phone and television as rock on our tummy. Weeping, silence, rage, urge of shouting the grief and the injustice. Need of doing something, because it is not possible to stay still, but what to do?

“A torchlight? No, it wouldn’t be his style.”

“A demonstration?”

“I want to understand what is going on in Ukraine”.

“Look the Internazionale newspaper, there are his pictures there”

Then weeping and silence again.

There is that project about Senegalese fables, a lot of material gathered and translated to resume for finalizing what was started with him and stopped. Nobody really knows what will come out of it, but many are the friends willing to help with it.

The trial begins, in Pavia, in an extremely small courtroom of the courthouse in Pavia. But at the first hearing, September 14th 2018, the place looked huge, because we were not enough people, just a few.

That night the official news report as they are true, the fake news regarding what happened that day in the courtroom and outside the courthouse.

Rage again. That stone on our stomach is still there, but this time we know very well what we must do for removing it. We must be there, and we must be many. At least as many as Andy’s friends, whoever misses him, whoever appreciates his work, whoever followed the stories he was telling through his pictures, whoever believes that participation is the civic sense and that is a must to provide everybody his own contribution if the world we live in is a place about often complaining.

That by the was is what Andy used to do: being there.

5 years passed from that day and 8 months from the beginning of the trial. And we were 300 people walking towards the courthouse. A small breakfast together in front of his parents house, where Andy grew up, a visit to the cemetery, walking pass what was Andy’s scouting group headquarter and then there we were, queueing for entering in that courtroom, too small for us to fit all.

We were all there for you. Surrounded by the colours of the Jersey painted in your memory by the students of the Volta institute, youngster that you managed to involve and fascinating with the power of your work.

Accompanied by the red poppies colouring the fields around your house and filled with the enthusiasm of whom believed that day, in that courtroom, we should have been all asking aloud Truth in your name.

Next hearings:

June 14th and 21st, July 5th and 12th. This will be the hearing when the verdict will be declared by the court and it will take place in the Annunciata room in Petrarca Square, Pavia