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France opens investigation into Fox News reporter Pierre Zakrzewski's death in Ukraine

18.04.2024, 11:55
Pierre Zakrzewski. Photo by the RSF
Pierre Zakrzewski. Photo by the RSF

France's National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office (PNAT) has opened an investigation into the death of the French Irish journalist for the American media FoxNews, Pierre Zakrzewski, killed on 14 March 2022 in Ukraine while covering the beginning of the Russian invasion.

This was announced by the prosecutors on 17 April 2024, report the Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

RSF and the journalist's family will file civil party applications in the judicial investigation.

As reported by the IMI, Pierre Zakrzewski was killed by Russian artillery shelling in Horenka village, Kyiv oblast. He was accompanied by Ukrainian fixer, journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova, who died with him.

RSF write that after more than two years of investigation, two investigating judges have just been appointed. This is a significant step forward in the fight against impunity for crimes committed against journalists, remarks the organization.

The journalist's wife Michelle Ross-Stanton says that Pierre used his lens to "ensure people's stories were told with clarity and truth, no matter how difficult or how dangerous."

"We are very grateful to all those who have supported and helped us in our continuing fight to uncover the truth regarding what happened to Pierre," she says.

RSF note that two days after Zakrzewski's death, on 16 March 2022, a preliminary investigation was launched by the PNAT, in which 17 members of the family and RSF took part.

A joint investigation team has been set up between France, Ireland and Ukraine. At the end of this preliminary phase, on 5 April 2024, the PNAT referred the case to the Dean of the Investigating Judges of the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Unit of the Paris Judicial Court requesting the opening of a judicial investigation for war crimes.

The lawyers for Pierre Zakrzewski's family, Clémence Witt and Anaïs Sarron, welcome the start of this second phase: "Judicial cooperation worked extremely well during the preliminary investigation opened by the specialised section of the PNAT. This second phase, the appointment of investigating judges will allow his relatives to become civil parties and to participate more actively in the ongoing investigations."

Reports of Pierre Zakrzewski's death

On March 14, 2022, a crew of Fox News reporters working in Ukraine came under Russian missile fire in the Kyiv oblast. Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova were killed by the shelling, and Benjamin Hall was severely wounded.

The prosecutors of Bucha district of the Kyiv oblast opened a case over the murder of Zakrzewski and Kuvshynova.

Later, Benjamin Hall wrote a book titled "Saved" based on his story. He lost a leg, a foot on the other leg, an eye, and movement in one hand.

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