Myroslava Gongadze

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Myroslava Gongadze
Мирослава Гонгадзе
Myroslava Gongadze in Washington.jpg
Myroslava Gongadze
Born Myroslava Petryshyn
(1972-06-19) June 19, 1972 (age 42)
Berezhany, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Ethnicity Ukrainian
Education Master’s degree in civic law at Lviv University
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Widow of Georgiy Gongadze
Children 2 daughters

Myroslava Gongadze (Ukrainian: Мирослава Гонгадзе, born June 19, 1972) is a Ukrainian journalist and political activist now living in the United States. Her husband, journalist Georgiy Gongadze, was abducted and murdered in 2000. Since then she has been a prominent advocate for freedom of the press and protection of the safety of reporters in Ukraine, and has continued to work for justice in the case of her husband's murder.

Biography[edit]

Myroslava Petryshyn (Ukrainian: Мирослава Петришин)[1] was born on June 19, 1972, in Berezhany, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine. She earned a Master’s degree in civic law from Lviv University (completed in 1997), and in the early 1990s worked as a legal consultant for local government agencies.

During the early 1990s, Petryshyn became involved in journalism and Ukrainian politics. In 1993 she was a specialist in the information department of the journal Post-Postup. In 1994 and 1995 she served as deputy director and director of the press center for the New Wave political alliance (Ukrainian: Нова Хвиля). During 1995 she was the head of the media department for the International Media Center STB (Ukrainian: Міжнародний Медіа Центр - СТБ), and in 1998 was the head of public relations for the daily newspaper Day (Ukrainian: День). [2]

At the same time, Petryshyn became active in filmmaking . She was assistant director of Georgiy Gongadze's documentary short film Shadows of War (Ukrainian: Тіні війни, 1993) about the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict [3] and executive producer of Dream Defenders (Ukrainian: Охоронці мрії, 1996).

Myroslava Petryshyn was married to Georgiy Gongadze in 1995, and their twin daughters were born in 1997. [4] Along with her husband, Myroslava Gongadze continued to work in journalistic projects opposed to the administration of President Leonid Kuchma.

In 2000, Georgiy Gongadze was kidnapped and brutally murdered. Secret tape recordings provided by one of the president's bodyguards and released by opposition politicians implicated Kuchma in the crime. The resulting political controversy became known as the cassette scandal, damaged Kuchma's popularity and laid part of the groundwork for the Orange Revolution of 2004. It also brought Myroslava Gongadze to greater prominence as a campaigner for democracy, human rights, and freedom of the press in Ukraine. She has continued to seek justice in the case of her husband's abduction and murder.

She and her two children received political asylum in the United States in 2001. In an interview with Ukrayinska Pravda in February 2005 Myroslava Gongadze said she will come back to Ukraine if her husband's murderers and those who gave orders to murder were punished.[5] Since arriving in the United States, Gongadze has worked as a TV and radio correspondent for VOA, a freelance correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and a visiting Scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 2001, Gongadze was awarded a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship to study the role of the media in Ukraine's transition to democracy.[6] [7]

In October 2009 she was ranked 91st in a top 100 of "most influential women in Ukraine" compiled by experts for the Ukrainian magazine Focus.[8]

Gongadze is sceptical about the political state of modern Ukraine; in an editorial of November 23, 2009 in The Wall Street Journal she argued that its democracy was degenerating and its freedom of the press at risk.[9]

European Court of Human Rights[edit]

On 16 September 2002 she lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights citing Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights and maintaining that the death of her husband was the result of a forced disappearance and that the Ukrainian authorities failed to protect his life. She also maintains that the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, as well as the incomplete and contradictory information provided during the investigation, forced her to leave the country and caused her suffering, contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) of the Convention. On 31 March 2005, the court declared her complaint admissible and thereby agreed to pursue her case against the State of Ukraine.[10]

On 08-11-2005 the European Court of Human Rights passed its judgement in case of Myroslava Gongadze vs Ukraine in favor of late journalist's widow. Under the Court's ruling, Ukraine has violated articles 2, 3, 13 and 41 of the European Convention on Human Rights by the Ukrainian power's failure to protect the right to life of the applicant's husband, Georgiy Gongadze.[11]

According to the judgement, the investigation was not adequate and caused many moral traumas to the applicant. The court awarded the applicant 100,000 euros in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.[12]

2006 murder trial[edit]

During the 2004 presidential campaign, the opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko pledged to solve the case if he became president. Yushchenko did become president following the subsequent Orange Revolution and immediately launched a new investigation, replacing the country's prosecutor-general.

The Gongadze murder trial began on 9 January 2006, in Kiev. Three former policemen are charged with the killing of Georgiy Gongadze. Another suspect, ex-police general Oleksiy Pukach, was believed to have fled abroad but found in Ukraine in 2009 living under his real name, and was arrested and charged. On the day the trial started, Myroslava Gongadze commented on the fact that no one has been charged for ordering the killing: "They are known and they should be punished just the same as those who will be sitting in the dock today".

Gongadze Foundation[edit]

In order to promote the investigation of her husband's murder, and to promote freedom of the press and safety for other reporters and political activists in Ukraine, Myroslava Gongadze founded the Gongadze Foundation in 2001. The Foundation has worked with other journalists' organizations, such as Reporters Without Borders, in lobbying international organizations to open inquiries into the abduction and killing of Georgiy Gongadze. They have received support from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as well as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 2001, the European Parliament resolved to convene an international committee to investigate the case.

The Foundation has also worked with the Ukrainian Gold Cross to financially support the families of other murdered Ukrainian journalists such as Ihor Aleksandrov.

The Gongadze Foundation is dedicated to the following goals:

"To protect journalists’ rights, political and intellectual freedoms;
To provide legal assistance;
To develop continuing education programs for journalists;
To help the families of reporters who have unjustly suffered while performing their professional duties."[13]

At the second anniversary of Georgiy Gongadze's disappearance, the Gongadze Foundation organized the "Requiem 2002" program including memorial services and protests at Ukrainian embassies and consulates. The activities were supported by Freedom House and the Committee to Protect Journalists, and received letters of support from several members of the United States House of Representatives. [14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kipiani, Vakhtang. "Пост-"Post-Поступ"" (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  2. ^ "Гонгадзе Мирослава Володимирівна". Political Ukraine Today (Ukrainian: Політична Україна сьогодні) (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  3. ^ ""Тіні війни" на Узвозі" (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  4. ^ National Press Agency, Moscow (January 20, 2006). "Гонгадзе Георгий Русланович: Дополнительные материалы" (in Russian). Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  5. ^ "Will Myroslava Gongadze come back to Ukraine?". Ukrayinska Pravda. February 14, 2001. 
  6. ^ "Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows" (PDF). National Endowment for Democracy annual report. National Endowment for Democracy. 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-20. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Forum Welcomes Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows". National Endowment for Democracy newsletter. National Endowment for Democracy. Winter 2002. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  8. ^ (Russian) Рейтинг Фокуса: 100 самых влиятельных женщин и 100 деталей о них, Focus
  9. ^ Ukraine: A Democracy at Risk, The Wall Street Journal (November 23, 2009)
  10. ^ "ECHR Admissibility Decision - Gongadze vs. Ukraine". European Court of Human Rights. 2005-03-31. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  11. ^ European Court of Human Rights: judgment in the case of Gongadze v. Ukraine, Council of Europe information Office in Georgia (9 November 2005)
  12. ^ www.nrcu.gov.ua
  13. ^ "Requiem 2002 Organizers: About Foundation". Forum of Ukrainian Students in America. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  14. ^ "Requiem 2002: About event". Forum of Ukrainian Students in America. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 

External links[edit]