Ukrainian Commission: Former President Organized Journalist's Abduction
Leonid Kuchma (file photo)
20 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A Ukrainian parliamentary commission investigating the murder of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze has found that former President Leonid Kuchma organized his abduction.
Commission head Hrihoriy Omelchenko said in televised comments today that the commission has "unanimously identified former President Leonid Kuchma as the organizer of the kidnapping."
The commission also accused parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn of instigating the kidnapping. Lytvyn was the head of the presidential administration at the time Gongadze disappeared in 2000.
Lytvyn today called Omelchenko's comments a "provocation."
The commission's findings also implicate the then chairman of the Ukrainian Security Service, current parliamentary deputy Leonid Derkach.
The Ukrainian parliament accepted the commission's findings today, thus ending the panel's mandate. The commission recommends that a criminal case be opened against Kuchma, Lytvyn, and other officials responsible for the abduction. Parliament is now due to discuss the findings.
Gongadze was an editor at the Internet daily "Ukrayinska pravda" and had often criticized Kuchma's rule. He disappeared in September 2000. His decapitated body was found two months later outside Kyiv.