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Italian court to consider appeal in Markiv case on September 29

28.08.2020, 15:41
Photo credit: Natalya Kudryk, Radio Liberty
Photo credit: Natalya Kudryk, Radio Liberty

A court hearing will be held in Italy on September 29 to consider an appeal against the sentence of National Guard Vitaly Markiv, who was convicted of the murder of an Italian photographer in Donbas. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told at a briefing on August 28, as Ukriform reported.

"We certainly have respect for the Italian system of justice, but we very clearly express our hope that the decision regarding Vitaliy (Markiv. - Ed. ) will be fair and impartial, devoid of any emotion and incorrect interpretation of the facts" - Kuleba said and added that the appeal hearing is scheduled for September 29.

The Minister stressed that Ukraine considered the accusations made against Markiv as unfounded, and the case itself is under the control of the President. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and personally Minister Arsen Avakov also take an active part in the defense.

Kuleba assured that the Ukrainian side was collaborating with the Italian counterpart, and the Ukrainian consuls provide constant support to the National Guard during the trial.

In addition, the Foreign Minister said that he invited international human rights organizations to monitor the trial, "to prevent possible violations or misinterpretations of the facts related to this case, as well as to record possible facts of pressure on the court to confirm the conviction." 

"I hope that international human rights activists will hear our call, join this case and eventually we will get an objective verdict that will give Vitaly the freedom he deserves," the minister said.

As IMI reported, on June 5, at the Verkhovna Rada, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that an investigative experiment conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the case of Vitaliy Markiv proved his innocence in the murder of an Italian photographer. 

In May 2020, in Slovyansk (Donetsk region), a group of experts conducted an investigative experiment in the criminal proceedings of the National Police on the circumstances of the deaths of Italian photojournalist Andrea Rockelli and Russian translator Andrei Mironov on May 24, 2014. Preliminary findings indicated that the shots were fired from a place controlled by the militia members, not Ukrainian military.

On November 20, 2019,  on November 20, 2019, Ukraine filed an appeal against the sentence of Vitaliy Markiv, a serviceman of the National Guard of Ukraine, who was imprisoned in Italy for 24 years. It is expected to be considered by the Lombardy District Court of Appeal in the spring of 2020.

On July 12, 2019, a court in the Italian city of Pavia  sentenced  Vitaliy Markiv, a soldier of the National Guard of Ukraine, to 24 years in prison on charges of involvement in the violent death of Italian journalist Andrea Rockelli in Donbas in 2014.

Vitaliy Markiv, a Ukrainian and Italian citizen, was  arrested  on June 30, 2017 at Bologna Airport. He is accused of involvement in the deaths of Italian photojournalist Andrea Rockelli and Russian translator Andrei Mironov in a shooting near Slovyansk on May 24, 2014.

The military denies all allegations. His lawyer Rafaelle Della Valle considers the accusations against Vitaly Markiv baseless and the investigation biased. Ukraine also denies the National Guard soldier to be involved in the death of an Italian reporter.

The prosecution - the parents of the the victim, Italian journalists' organizations - insisted on the version of the premeditated murder of a photojournalist during the war in Donbass.

On September 24, 2019, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky  proposed to the  Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte to form the joint investigation team to investigate the circumstances of the death of Italian journalist Andrea Rockelli. He noted that he expected a comprehensive and objective consideration of the case of Vitaliy Markiv, convicted in Italy.

On October 11, 2019, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that it  would help appeal the decision  in the Court of Appeal in the case of National Guard Vitaliy Markiv, who was sentenced in Italy to 24 years in prison.

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