EU Verdict Over Cause Celebre

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of Myroslava Gongadze, the widow of slain Ukrainian opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, against Ukrainian authorities.

Myroslava Gongadze accuses the authorities of failing to protect the life of her husband, who was assassinated in 2000, and to come up with an effective inquiry into his death.

The Strasbourg-based court today ruled that Ukrainian authorities failed to protect Heorhiy Gongadze's life, failed to investigate his death, treated Myroslava Gongadze in an inhuman and degrading manner, and in the absence of effective criminal investigation, prevented her from receiving compensation.

The court awarded Myroslava Gongadze, who fled to the United States after her husband's death, 100,000 euros ($118,000) in damages.

Ukraine has three months to appeal the decision.

The September 2000 killing of Gongadze sparked protests in Ukraine and implicated then President Leonid Kuchma, who denied any part in the journalist's death. Ukraine's new president, Viktor Yushchenko, had repeatedly vowed to solve the case.


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