This is not a private matter

The number of wars among sovereign states and the number of killed in war has luckily decreased since the Second World War. Nevertheless, the number of civil wars has increased. Those are unconventional wars, mostly terrible for disarmed people. Along with them, also the number of journalists killed has increased as the CPJ, Committee to Protect

That’s absolutely not accidental. In the XXI century, when international institutions are highly regulated by a well informed and connected public opinion, it is much more difficult rather than in the past that a government get involved in something so unpopular as a regular war. Instead, small hotbeds burst. They are kind of gangs that are much more complex to monitor and keep under control. Reporters like Andy Rocchelli sometimes pay for that. And they are our witnesses on the field and for such reason they represent our only hope to change the direction of history.

The court trial that is happening in Pavia for the killing of Andy is precisely related to this. We told that many times already and we do not give up repeating it. Because the painful loss

of a friend and a fellow citizen has also given a unique and historical opportunity. This court trail, made possible by the valuable work done by the ROS and the Pavia public prosecutor’s office, can represent an example and a warning on an international level. No matter how much wicked and dirty the next war would be, journalists must remain untouched: they are there on our behalf.

There are only 4 hearings left and the next few Fridays will be crucial: prosecution’s charge, indictments from both the civil parts and the defence, till the verdict on July, 12th. For such reason, it is important that the citizenry participates, showing up in the court, on our side. It is important that our affinity to the institutions is felt. It is important that is made clear that Andy’s death is something that regards our community, our common right and our future.

We do not give up repeating this: this is not a private matter.

We wait for you at the Pavia Court, the next hearing will take place on the 14th June.


24th May 2019: hearing in the Court

The court deemed the investigation fully completed and rejected the defense’s request to visit the site where Andy and Andrey were killed. The indictment phase then commenced ( final statements delivered by the prosecutor, plaintiffs and defense).
The prosecutor brilliantly outlined the studied events, the examined evidences and the workflow of the inquiries. State prosecutor Mr Zanoncelli consciously did not profit from issues and elements that might harm Mr Markiv’s reputation while being not crucial for the purposes of the investigations.
The indictment covered the progress of the inquiries and thus confirmed once more the dynamic of the events ( Ukrainian soldiers deliberately targeted unarmed journalists), location and ballistic (mortar fire was shot from the Karachun Hill where the Ukrainian regular army was settled); composition of Ukrainian National Guard, roles and hierarchy; duties and position of the accused, Mr. Markiv (informer equipped with radio and throat mike, he used to keep under surveillance the spot where Andy was killed, Markiv provided the shooting coordinates to whom handled the mortars); further evidences ( wiretapping results, what Markiv’s chiefs and witnesses testified, Markiv’s own statements).
The state prosecutor hence ordered detention for a minimum time of 24 years, reduced to 16 due to Markiv’s young age and so far good behavior, increased to 17 as a consequence of the harm inflicted to the then photographer, French citizen William Roguelon.

17th May 2019: hearing in the Court

On Friday May 17th five soldiers testified within the defense hearing:
  1. Myokola Balan: deputy commander of the Ukrainian National Guard in 2014, now head of GNU;
  2. Konstantin Rekhtyk: deputy commander of staff of GNU;
  3. Vasyl Kuse: now policeman, in 2014 he was a ranker of GNU on Karachun hill, sharing shift and position with Vitaly Markiv;
  4. Oleksandr Vendiuk: chief of the 1st “Kucynsky” battalion of GNU where Markiv belonged;
  5. Igor Sarakman: soldier of GNU;
The witnesses delivered vague and inconsistent answers to the questions asked both by the defense and the accuse; a crucial node concerns the position of the accused on the Karachun hill: the location detected by the state prosecutor during the inquiries has been substantially confirmed. It came clear that Andy’s and Andrey’s murder was a commonly well-known event among the GNU members on the hill; however none of them was ever heard by the Ukrainian authorities during the local investigations.
Furthermore, the witnesses stated that:
  • no shift sheet is available as an overview of positions and duties of the GNU soldiers on the hill;
  • the GNU soldiers were provided with weapons meant to be used for the sole defense;
  • GNU and regular army occupied the hill side by side but never communicated between each other; however the accused is often portrayed with a couple of radio and a throat mike, a rather clear hint of his role of sentinel and informer of those who maneuvered the mortars;
  • GNU soldiers couldn’t see anything from their location as the vegetation was rather dense;
During the afternoon the audience was asked to leave the court after the Ukrainian group clapped and cheered the defense (“this court is not a theater” said the President of the Court).