The European Implementation Network (EIN) convened a quarterly civil society briefing to Permanent Representations of the Council of Europe on 10 September 2018. UHHRU’s expert Olena Protsenko was presenting there a Gongadze case. This case concerns the killing of Georgyi Gongadze, a journalist, in the year of 2000, and lack of effective investigation.
This briefing, which was the third in 2018, focused on analyses by civil society representatives to support the implementation of cases of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) scheduled for review from 18-20 September 2018 at the 1324th Human Rights Meeting of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies. The Committee is responsible for supervising the judgment execution process.
Representatives of 24 Permanent Representations to the Council of Europe attended the briefing at the Palais de l’Europe.
The following ECtHR judgments were presented and discussed: P. and S. v Poland, Gongadze v Ukraine, Nisiotis Group v Greece and Manushaqe Puto and Others and Driza Group v Albania.
A summary of points in the form of main recommendations made by each of the presenters in support of the implementation of the respective cases can be found here.
Gongadze v Ukraine (Application No 34056/02)
In her briefing, Ms Olena Protsenko, Lawyer at the Centre for Strategic Litigation of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, stated that, with regard to general measures, positive achievements had been reached through the introduction of four new corpus delicti into the Criminal Code of Ukraine. She underlined though that this legislation would only concern – and thus protect – journalists belonging to a certain mass media or a journalist association, and therefore not bloggers or non-professional reporters. In addition, the Ukrainian legislation only applies in cases where criminal proceedings are already open, and does not operate on a rapid response basis to ensure active protection of journalists. With regard to investigation, Ms Protsenko highlighted the lack of effective investigations, and the victims’ inability to access the criminal files during the pre-trial investigation.
Ms Protsenko put forth several recommendations to support implementation of this case, starting first and foremost with the need to adopt a broad notion of media which encompasses all media actors, and to create emergency protection remedies for journalists at risk and their families. She also called for the creation of special investigative units with specialised expertise and methods of investigation for police officers investigating crimes against journalists.
The memo from Ms Protsenko can be found here. The very recent Rule 9.2 submission from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union on this case can be found here. The June 2018 Action Plan from the national authorities is here.