Final Report of the ad hoc Ukrainian parliamentary investigative commission into the murders of journalists Georgiy Gongadze

Final Report of the ad hoc Ukrainian parliamentary investigative commission into the murders of journalists Georgiy Gongadze, Ihor Aleksandrov and other crimes

(The final report was delivered by MP Hryhoriy Omelchenko, head of the ad hoc commission, prior to the commission being disbanded by parliament on Tuesday, September 20, 2005)

On the 11th of July, 2002, Verhovna Rada, The parliament of Ukraine, created the ad hoc commission comprised of twelve members. This Commission thoroughly analyzed all documents and other materials that were submitted on the Gongadze case and some other high profile criminal cases. In accordance with legal regulations, the commission appointed me (Hryhoriy Omlechenko) to question Mr. Mykola Melnichenko concerning the audio recordings that Mr. Melnichenko claims to have made in the offices of the Ukrainian president Mr. Kuchma, and specifically the recordings pertaining to Georgiy Gongadze. Those recording were made in 2000-2001, around the time Gongadze disappeared and when Mr. Melnichenko served as a member of Mr. Kuchma security team.

Prior to giving testimony Mr. Mykola Melnichenko was made aware that making false statements or refusing to testify carry criminal responsibility. Mr. Melnychenko also signed a sworn declaration, that, according to Ukrainian parliament regulations, he will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The commission also questioned a number of witnesses whose names are mentioned in the audio recordings from Mr. Kuchma's offices and who were the victims of criminal actions also mentioned in those recordings. They all confirmed that the details of the crimes committed against them corresponded to the words heard on the recordings from Kuchma's offices.

I would like to mention one more important moment:

Mr. Mykola Melnichenko passed a psychological test, including a lie detector test, in the United States of America. The test was comprised of 14 questions. The expert psychologists who conducted the testing confirmed that Mr. Melnichenko was telling the truth.

It is also important to mention that the current commission, as well as the previous commission, arranged for a number of forensic tests of the audio recordings made by Mr. Mykola Melnichenko in Kuchma offices. All expert examinations concluded that the part of the audio recordings related to Gongadze are authentic and were not edited.

The latest confirmation of the authenticity of Melnichenko's recordings came from Mr. (Oleksandr) Turchinov, who, until recently, was the Chief of SBU, the State Security Service of Ukraine.. The SBU examination of the recordings confirmed their authenticity of the recordings and provided positive identification of the voices on the recordings. Also, the SBU examination concluded that the recordings were not edited.

Dear colleagues, I would like to state that it would be a mistake to look at the crime committed against Georgiy Gongadze without looking at other, similar crimes. A former president of Ukraine, Mr. Kuchma, along with people close to him and the heads and ministers of different state security departments, including the deceased Interior Minister Mr. Kravchenko and the former head of the State Tax Administration, Mr. Mykola Azarov, and other high profile governmental officials had created a system of total illegal surveillance of opposition politicians and activists, including wire tapping of their telephone conversations and conducting various provocations against them. This system also included conducting violent acts against the most active members of the opposition.

All the above is proved by material evidence and testimonies that were submitted to the Prosecutor General's Offices, and personally to the attention of Mr. Piskun during his first tenure as the Prosecutor General, and subsequently to the next Prosecutor General, Mr Vasiliev, then and again to Mr. Piskun who became the Prosecutor General after Mr. Vasiliev's dismissal.

Dear colleagues, the secret criminal organization headed by then-president Kuchma developed a complex plan to destroy democratic institutions in Ukraine, to put an end to the free press and other media outlets and to physically destroy the most active opponents of Kuchma regime. You should remember the persecutions and oppression that publications such as “Silski Visti”, “Hrani”, “Tovarysh”, and “Informatyvnyj bulletin” endured under Kuchma's regime.

Melnichenko had testified that starting from May of 2000 Mr. Lytvyn, the former head of President Administration, and now the Speaker of Parliament, systematically reported to then-president Kuchma about Mr. Gongadze's publications. Mr. Lytvyn was trying to incite hostility in Kuchma towards Gongadze.

Melnichenko recorded a very important conversation between Kuchma and Lytvyn regarding a publication by Gongadze, after which Mr. Kuchma proposed to open a criminal case against Gongadze. Lytvyn's reaction was recorded by Melnychenko as follows: “No, we don't have to do it, tell Kravchenko to come to my office. (Kravchenko, now deceased, was a head of Ministry of Police (Ministry of Internal Affairs - MIA) in the government of Ukraine).

Right after that conversation Kuchma called Mr. Kravchenko and ordered him to act accordingly. You all know what I mean: he ordered him to kill Gongadze.

Almost every day Kravchenko reported to Kuchma about what measures are being taken to stop Gongadze's publications from appearing in opposition magazines and other media outlets. After you listen to recordings from Kuchma's office for 10 times, you understand that, from the very the beginning, Kravchenko did not want to take any violent actions against Gongadze. He was trying to delay the violent acts when he reported to Kuchma about the mistakes that undercover agents were making. Kravchenko's position was that they are not ready yet and need more time. But Kuchma insisted on using violence against Gongadze. And as we all know Gongadze disappeared on the 16th of September, 2000.

I have to underline that the action was initiated against Gongadze right after Kuchma had a talk with the head of State Security (SBU) Mr. Derkach. In that conversation Gongadze was nicknamed “provocateur” and a complex security operation was launched against him. This fact was proved by our commission and was also confirmed by SBU when it was run by Mr. Smeshko: the SBU was working on Gongadze at the time, as was the MIA (Ministry of Internal Affairs)

As we can see operatives from both SBU and MIA were conducting secret actions against Gongadze in violation of The Law and Constitution.

It is important to understand - and the audio recordings made by Melnychenko fully prove this - it was a system of total surveillance, illegal gathering of private information on all members of parliament, opposition leaders and oppositional media.

Almost every day either Kravchenko or Derkach reported to Kuchma on the progress of the surveillance of Gongadze. We found that there were 30 police officers working on the case.

Dear colleagues, our Commission found the names of those persons who on the 16th of September 2000 not only conducted the surveillance, but also kidnapped Georgiy Gongadze. Among them was Mr Pukach, a police general.

The ad hoc commission unanimously qualified Lytvyn's behavior, according to article 27, paragraph 3, article 146 of the Criminal Code, as inciting the kidnapping of Georgy Gongadze by an organized group of people that resulted in dire consequences (death). President Kuchma was unanimously qualified as an organizer of the kidnapping. On a lower level, the organizer was the late Kravchenko. The commission also concluded that the former SBU chief Derkach also took part in the crime as an instigator (like Lytvyn). The commission unanimously recommended to the Prosecutor to start a criminal investigation against all of the above-mentioned persons. All committee decisions, all collected evidences and materials were submitted in September 2002 to the Prosecutor Piskun. On March 3, 2003, the same materials were once again submitted to then Prosecutor Vasiliev. According to the Criminal Code, the Prosecutor MUST make a decision within ten days upon receiving the documents and either reject the materials due to the absence of a crime or to start a criminal investigation. More then three years passed since then, and still no decision has been made. Yet, in 2002, the commission unanimously agreed to fire Lytvyn and Piskun and to begin impeachment proceedings of Kuchma. Finally, the commission determined that the crime was organized by the former President, Kuchma, and the ex-chief of intelligence, Derkach. In addition, the commission discovered that several other severe crimes were organized with the help of Kuchma. These materials were also directed to the Prosecutor General, however, no decision was made.

Together with Yuri Lutsenko, the deputy of the committee chair, we compiled a list of 7 to 9 names and described the details of Gongadze’s abduction. Prosecutor General Piskun knew about the arrested people since September 2003. The former PG Vassilyev was also aware of these people, as he was briefed by the SBU (SSU?).

Having all the evidences compiled, the commission reached the unanimous conclusion, supported by all the committee members. KPK(? – Krim. Prots. Kodeks???) defines the following in terms of a crime:: the instigator, the accomplice, the organizer, and the executor.

The commission analyzed the actions of all criminals and the evidences and concluded that the former head of the Presidential Administration Lytvyn was the instigator of the crime against Georgiy Gongadze, that was followed by his abduction and murder. The commission qualified Lytvyn’s actions as such that fall under Article 27 and Article 146, part III of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: the encouraging and conspiring to organize the abduction of Georgy Gongadze that led to his death.

The commission qualified President Kuchma as the organizer of the abduction.

The organizer at the lower level, who was executing President Kuchma’s orders, was the late Minister Kravchenko.

The commission concluded that the former SBU dhief Derkach was also a participant in this crime. The commission qualifed him as an instigator (same as Lytvyn.)

The commission recommended that PG Piskun initiate the prosecution of the aforementioned persons, according to Art. 27 and Art. 146, part III of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (organizing, conspiring and the encouraging of Gongadze’s abduction, performed by the organized group that led to the fatal consequences and death).

All of these conclusions, evidence and materials were sent to PG Piskun in September 2002. The same conclusions were sent to PG Vassilyev on March 3, 2003. The Criminal Procedure Code provides the authorities 10 days to initiate the criminal case or to refuse in the case’s initiation due to the lack of components of crime. However, after three years of procrastinations, no actions have been taken by the PG’s office.

In 2002, the commission unanimously supported the motion to dismiss Volodymyr Lytvyn from the position of Parliamentary Speaker, to start the impeachment process of then President Kuchma and to fire the PG Svyatoslav Piskun. Finally, the commission concluded that Kuchma and Derkach were the organizers of the assassination attempt against a Member of Parliament.

The commission also found evidences of other felonies, committed with Kuchma’s assistance. All these materials were sent to the PG’s office. In spite of the provisions contained in the Criminal Procedural Code, no actions have been taken to date.

Piskun was not fired in the aftermath of the Gongadze case, but Omelchenko is out of a job now.

Translated by Maidan Volunteers

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