Defense lawyers in Markiv trial in Pavia, Italy demand acquittal (Markiv case cont’d)

Vitaliy Markiv and defense lawyer Donatella Rapetti at court hearing in Pavia, Italy, July 5, 2019  

International, Ukraine, War in the Donbas

Court proceedings in the trial of Ukrainian soldier Vitaliy Markiv, which began a year ago, have been completed. Markiv’s second defense lawyer Donatella Rapetti made her closing argument on July 5, 2019.

Rapetti refuted the prosecution’s accusation of Markiv’s complicity in the killing of Italian photographer Andrea Rochelli and his translator Andriy Mironov in Donbas in May, 2014.

The lawyer focused on analyzing the expertise results, including Rochelli’s backpack, and the video of the taxi, in which the reporters had arrived at the place of the shooting. She also drew the court’s attention to the role played by the defendant Markiv and the Ukrainian troops, which were deployed on Mount Karachun near occupied Sloviansk.

According to Rapetti, both prosecution and defense data coincide. At the same time, these studies do not contain enough information to clearly establish the type of weapon that killed Andrea Rochelli. The prosecution insists that Rochelli was killed by mortar shelling.

As to the damaged taxi, Rapetti underlined that expertise showed that there were no signs of shots from an AK-74 on the roof of the vehicle, but only on the side doors. This testifies to the fact that Vitaliy Markov could not have fired at the taxi from above and from a distance of more than a kilometer. The maximum range of an AK-74 Kalashnikov, used by Markiv, is 600m.

Donatella Rapetti underlined the fact that Markiv’s duty was to inform headquarters about suspicious movements in the area. Therefore, there was nothing illegal in his actions, whereas the prosecution blames the defendant for his role as a military scout. According to Italy’s criminal military code, a serviceman cannot be punished for executing an order.

In conclusion, Rapetti underlined the absurdity of the charges, adding that it was impossible to say exactly who had fired and from where the shot had actually been fired.

“Nobody wanted to kill these journalists deliberately. They were victims of war, and in a war, people shoot at each other…”

Donatella Rapetti asked the court to pronounce a verdict of “not guilty”. Earlier, the prosecutor’s office had demanded a sentence of 17 years for Vitaliy Markiv.

Senior sergeant of the National Guard of Ukraine Vitaliy Markiv was arrested in Italy on June 31, 2017 on suspicion of killing Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian translator Andriy Mironov near occupied Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast in May 2014. Markiv has consistently denied his complicity in the incident. The trial started on July 6, 2018; there have been 17 court hearings. The court is expected to pronounce the verdict on July 12.

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
Source: Radio Liberty

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