Markiv case: Ukraine's Rada asks Italy to ensure objective appeal hearing
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has appealed to the president and parliament of the Italian Republic with a request to ensure transparency, objectivity, and impartiality of appeal proceedings of senior sergeant of the National Guard of Ukraine, Vitaliy Markiv.
The relevant resolution was backed by 323 MPs registered at the session hall.
The statement says that the parliament respects independence and authority of Italy's judicial branch, but believes the court decision violates the rights of the Ukrainian military and damages the image of Ukraine.
"The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine considers the judgment by the court of the town of Pavia (Lombardy comune, Italian Republic) of July 12, 2019, regarding citizen of Ukraine Vitaliy Markiv harmful to the sovereign rights of the state of Ukraine," the statement says.
The Verkhovna Rada believes the case against Markiv "demonstrated obvious violations of principles of the rule of law, guarantees for a fair trial, and one of the key principles of criminal proceedings – presumption of innocence."
Parliament of Ukraine draws attention to the fact that the proceedings "took place in a deeply anti-Ukrainian atmosphere, the prosecutors' evidence was based on rumors and prejudices, the court rejected the request to inspect the scene of the incident on Mount Karachun (submitted by Markiv's lawyers), while probable involvement of the Russian and pro-Russian sides, who were present there at the time of the tragedy, was never investigated."
It is also noted no clear or unequivocal evidence of guilt of the Ukrainian military, including Markiv, had been provided during trial.
The parliament protests against accusing Ukraine of violating international humanitarian law and attracting the Ukrainian state in this case as a civil defendant since this contradicts basic principles of international law regarding jurisdictional immunities of foreign states.
The Rada categorically condemns the use of unacceptable language in the verdict, according to which the Ukrainian Army is "rebel Ukrainians who captured Karachun," it is stated that "shooting at civilians was the usual behavior of the Ukrainian Army and National Guard of Ukraine," while military operations in eastern Ukraine are branded an "ongoing civil war."
As UNIAN reported earlier, despite convincing evidence that Markiv could not have been involved in the mortar shelling, which is believed to have killed an Italian freelance photo reporter, Andrea Rocchelli, and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov in Donetsk region in May 2014, the jury in the court of Italy's Pavia on July 12, 2019, sentenced the Ukrainian guardsman to 24 years in prison.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prosecutor General's Office to immediately address the issue of Markiv's return to Ukraine.
On October 10, the court made public the motivational part of the verdict.
On November 20, Ukraine filed an appeal against the verdict against Markiv.