24 years for the murder of a journalist. What is known about the case of atoshnik Markiv, sentenced in Italy
In Italy, the court sentenced the former ATO student Vitaly Markiv to 24 years in prison. He was accused of the murder of the Italian photojournalist Andrea Rockelli during the battle for Slavyansk.
This case is in its own way even more scandalous than the detention of Ukrainians in Russia. And that’s why.
Previously, the charges against Ukraine in the murder of journalists and civilians were heard only from Moscow or from “LDNR”. Now a court sentence has appeared in one of the key countries of the European Union. And he does not seem to be the last: there was information about the opening of a case against colleague Markiv.
This verdict has been outraged by supporters of the ATO. Nationalist Dmitry Yarosh even called for seizing the citizens of Italy in Ukraine on the “exchange fund.”
However, it is unlikely that the same intensity of emotions should be expected from the authorities. They most likely will not dare to accuse Italy in the same way as they accuse the Russian Federation for the arrests of Sentsov, Sushchenko and others.
“Country” tells the details of this case.
Who is Vitaly Markiv
Vitaly Markiv – Euromaidan activist. He came to participate in protests from Italy, where he moved with his family in 2003.
Prior to that, Markiv lived in the Ternopil region, from where he went to his mother, who worked in Italy. There he graduated from college, received Italian citizenship. Before arriving in Ukraine, Markiv worked at a sawmill and worked as a DJ.
At the beginning of the Maidan in 2013, he arrived in Kiev and became one of the members of self-defense. After the start of the ATO, he enlisted in the battalion of them. Sergei Kulchitsky, who fought under the Slavic.
There he was a platoon commander and was popular with journalists, who often interviewed him.
In the summer of 2017, Markiv and his wife went to Italy to visit their mother. At the Bologna airport, he was detained and charged with the murder of a journalist. The court sent a volunteer under arrest, where he remained until the sentencing.
What is accused of Ukrainians
The Italian investigation believes that it was Markiv who gave the order on May 25, 2014 to shoot from Karachun Mountain, controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, at the railway crossing where the checkpoint of the Girkin-Strelkov people was located.
As a result of mortar shelling, journalists Andrea Rocelli and Andrei Mironov were killed. The French reporter William Rugelon, who was injured but survived, also came under fire. He says that the shelling lasted about 20 minutes, the shots flew “from above”, from Karachun, and during that time no one could lift their heads.
Rokkelli became the first journalist to be killed during the armed conflict in the Donbas. Independent photojournalist, founder of the Cesura team of photographers, in May 2014 he worked in the Donetsk region, highlighting the seizure of local authorities and the first fighting.
Because of the death of a colleague, the Italian journalistic associations came out against the National Guard employee – they were the ones who initiated the consideration of this case.
The Ukrainian authorities spoke in support of Markiv, and the local diaspora gives money for a lawyer.
How was the investigation
The charges against Markiv are based, in addition to the words of a surviving Frenchman, on the testimony of two Italian journalists who at various times spoke with him during their stay under Slavyansk.
Thus, the journalist Hilaria Morani told investigators that in May 2014, after the death of her fellow countryman, Rockkelli, she heard a telephone conversation with Vitaly Markiv. The fighter was called by her colleague, photojournalist Marcello Fauci, who was then with a journalist and knew Vitali from the events of Kiev Maidan.
From Morani and Fauci, the soldiers allegedly learned of Rocketlli’s death and warned Italian journalist friends not to go to the place of death of their compatriot due to the high level of danger. She also allegedly quotes Markiv as saying: “Usually we don’t shoot in the direction of the city or civilians, but as soon as we see some kind of movement, we load heavy artillery. It happened with the car of two journalists and an interpreter.”
The investigation claims that the railway crossing could be fired only from Karachun mountain. And Markiva calls “the commander of an unspecified rank,” who on May 24, 2014 gave the order to “shoot at everything that moves, within a radius of two kilometers.”
In this case, the Italian court ruled out the version of the deliberate murder of a journalist and his assistant.
Other journalists who worked at that moment on the territory of Slavyansk, said that this checkpoint had been shelled from Karachun for a long time.
Ukrainian lawyer Raffaelle della Valle believes that the fighter is judged by dubious suspicions, which are based on the statement that he “contributed” to the death of the journalist.
How he did it – the investigation does not know, says the defender. Witnesses do not give any records that would prove Markiv’s complicity in the shelling, everything is based on their words.
“Vitali is not at all the kind of Italian media that make him a sort of daredevil. I saw a serious man who learned a lot, a patriot who went to defend the Motherland first as a volunteer, and then joined the regular army. I emphasize that an ordinary soldier, he had no right and ability to order others to shoot, so the prosecutor’s office makes mistakes when he insists on it, ”said the lawyer.
“In addition, he was not in the place where journalists died,” said Della Valle.
The Ukrainian side in defense of the National Guard told that the shelling, in which the journalist and his translator died, was carried out by the “DPR” separatists, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not have mortars on Mount Karachun. This was stated by the then First Deputy Prime Minister Vitali Yarema. True, without explaining why the separatists had to shoot at their own checkpoint.
Markiv himself also denies all accusations and denies any involvement in the death of Rokkelli and Mironov. Counsel for the defendant Raffaele della Valle considers the charges against Markiv unfounded, and the investigation was biased.
How was the trial
Markiv was supported by Ukrainian officials at the trial. And one of the recent court sessions was visited by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
On Twitter, he expressed support for Markiv. “Together with Acting Commander of the National Guard of Ukraine Balan, we are here to testify in court in defense of our boyfriend, who will prove his innocence,” wrote the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Earlier, he also wrote a letter to the Italian Foreign Minister calling for a fair trial.
However, Avakov did not appear for the announcement of the sentence.
After the verdict of the court, Avakov declared that he considered him not only unfair, but also shameful.
“For 24 years, Vitaly Markiv is an unfair and shameful decision of the Italian court. It will be appealed against,” the minister promised. In his message, he used Emoji, depicting foul language.
“Our guardsman and the state of Ukraine are not to blame for the death of the reporter Rocelli. He was the victim of an aggressive Russia, which started a war in Donbas in Slavyansk,” Avakov added.
The penultimate, seventeenth, court hearing, to which Avakov arrived, was held on July 5th. Defense attorney Donatella Rapetti focused on the role of the Ukrainian army in May 2014 in Slavyansk, Donetsk region. At a court hearing in the city of Pavia, the defender made a final speech that lasted six hours.
The lawyer of the Rockelli family sharply condemned Ukraine for “inaction in investigating the circumstances and causes of death of the Italian photographer.” The defender demanded payment of compensation to the family of Rokkelli in the amount of one million euros – 500,000 euros for the mother and father of the deceased. For the civil wife of the deceased, she asked for 800,000 euros.
The defender from the association of photographers of freelancers Cesura Lab for its part asked for 15,000 euros of compensation from the civil defendant (the state of Ukraine). These funds, he said, will be directed to the organization of professional courses for journalists in Italy.
However, it is not yet known whether the court satisfied these requirements.
“Are the Italian embassy already picketing patriots?” Reaction of social networks
The head of the “Ukrainian Volunteer Army”, Dmitry Yarosh, called for the seizure of Italian citizens to be exchanged for Markiva.
“I propose to conduct a special operation.
Let’s “pack” a dozen Italians who, from time to time, come to us in Ukraine. (I help the Ukrainian Volunteer Army!)
We bring them accusations of participation in illegal armed groups of the DPR / LPR and the killing of civilian Ukrainian citizens during 2014-2019 and will be judged for a long time.
And then our “most objective” court will give them a life sentence.
We will introduce the same scheme with our sailors and prisoners relative to the aggressor country of Russia. ”
Note that like this post was put adviser Arsen Avakov, Vladimir Martynenko.
However, the Web does not believe that loud curses against Italy will end with something serious.
“The Italian embassy is picketing“ patriots ”? Or can’t they break up between them and the monument to Zhukov?”, Blogger Dmitry Kolomiychenko is interested.
Journalist Vyacheslav Chechilo satirically wonders why Ukraine should now join the EU.
“Dear patriots, I correctly understand that the Italian court issued a nationally motivated decision on the national guard Markov under pressure from local authorities in favor of Putin?
OK. In one of the leading EU countries, not only is there no fair trial, but it turns out that there is not even a separation of powers. And Putin is leading there.
But then the question is – why do we then need this EU? ”
Journalist Andrei Manchuk believes that Europe is giving Ukraine an example of a precedent when war crimes are investigated – whoever would commit them.
“This is an exceptionally significant precedent – numerous nationalist war crimes are not investigated in Ukraine, but in the future they can be brought to justice through European judicial bodies in order to achieve justice there.”
Journalist Anatoly Shary drew attention to the fact that ministerial visits and actions of activists do not apply to the Italian court.
“Italy. Markiv. 24 years in prison. The Prosecutor’s Office requested 17. The court decided to turn down completely. We can protest. We can hate the Italian Themis. But there is a court there. And support in the form of a minister at the court will not pass. And the crowd will be aggressive if I came to court, I would also go to prison. This is the law. This is something that is being discussed, but something that you cannot influence. This is Europe. ”
Information taken from: https://strana.ua/news/211164-chem-izvesten-atoshnik-vasilij-markiv-prihovorennyj-v-italii-v-24-hodam-tjurmy.html