Court of appeal in Markiv case to start in September
In Italy, the appeal court is to consider the case of National Guard of Ukraine Vitaliy Markiv on September 29, as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported referring to some sources accredited to the court. The next meeting is scheduled for October 1.
The soldier has been in an Italian prison for four years on charges of complicity in the premeditated murder of an Italian photojournalist and a Russian human rights activist six years ago in Donbas. In July last year, a Pavia jury sentenced Markiv to 24 years in prison.
The appeal against the verdict was expected last spring, but due to the pandemic it was postponed until the fall. The second-instance court hearing will take place in the Milan Jury Court of Appeal. According to Radio Svoboda, the defense called for an open hearing with the defendant in the courtroom. If other parties to the proceedings express a wish to participate remotely in the hearings, the court may grant their request.
In the petition, the defense asked to acquit Vitaliy Markiv definitively and unconditionally due to the lack of evidence of his involvement in the tragic incident that occurred on May 24, 2014 in the Donetsk region near Slovyansk. In the text of the appeal, the lawyers challenge all the conclusions of the Pavia jury, in particular:
-the type of weapon that killed two foreigners in the territory then occupied by Russian militants was not established (they died as a result of mortar fire, a court in Pavia ruled. - Ed. );
-it has not been proven that the fatal shots were fired by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (there was crossfire, says the defense. - Ed. );
-protest against the use of unreliable documents from Russian propaganda resources;
-protest against the refusal of the court and investigators to conduct an investigation at the scene of the tragedy and a renewed request to investigate the fact in details;
-protest against the refusal of Italian investigators to cooperate with Ukrainian colleagues;
-request for a ballistic experiment to confirm Markiv's physical inability to see and recognize journalists from his combat position on Mount Karachun.
Unlike the trial in Pavia (18 hearings), the trial in Milan will be much shorter. According to the court procedure, there will be a speech by a representative of the court on the general condition and matter of the case, a report by the Attorney General and civil plaintiffs and a speech by the defense. A maximum of three hearings is expected if the court does not introduce into the process new elements of the case, which have already been provided and still need to be added, in particular, by the defense of the Ukrainian military. Viewing the above mentioned, the verdict can be expected in October. In the case if new case elements are submitted for consideration or some extra investigations or technical examinations are made, the appeal trial will be delayed.
Prosecutors and civil plaintiffs through Italy's mainstream media continue to insist on a "fair decision" by the trial court, which they believed "violated the presumption of impunity for killing journalists in the war."