Heorhiy Gongadze (AFP)
September 16, 2006 -- Ukraine's interior minister today said prosecutors lacked the "political will" to solve the murder six years ago of the investigative journalist Heorhiy Gongadze.
Yuriy Lutsenko made the comments at a commemorative rally in a forest outside Kyiv, where Gongadze's beheaded body was found in 2000.
Gongadze's murder sparked months of protest and implicated then-President Leonid Kuchma, who denied any involvement.
The Gongadze Case
Heorhiy Gongadze was neither the first nor the last journalist to be killed in Ukraine, but it is his death that has become synonymous with the pressure exerted on journalists by the administration of former President Leonid Kuchma. Within weeks of his death, secretly recorded tapes emerged that implicated Kuchma in Gongadze's death. Kuchma has always denied any involvement, but the twists and turns of the protracted investigation -- and its failure to produce results -- merely fueled the speculation. The demonstrations triggered by Gongadze's death galvanized opposition to the Kuchma administration.
President Viktor Yushchenko, prime minister at the time of Gongadze's death and leader of the Orange Revolution, has said that resolving the Gongadze case is a "matter of honor." The journalist's alleged killers are now on trial in Kyiv. But a trail of deaths, including one since the Orange Revolution, raise doubts about whether it will ever be certain who ordered Gongadze's murder.