Ukrainian National Guardsman Vitaliy Markiv
Della Valle believes that the Ukrainian authorities should explain that soldier Markiv is not guilty, since there is no evidence of his complicity in the tragic incident near Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast on May 24, 2014, when photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian translator Andrei Mironov were killed in crossfire. The public should be informed not on the basis of telephone conversations, but on the basis of concrete material presented at the trial.
“To date, no one has approached me to translate my final statement in court. The Ukrainian authorities must underline the fact that Markiv is a prisoner of war because the incident took place in a war zone.”
The lawyer says that the Ukrainian parliament must draw international attention to this case and protest more vehemently against such an unfair sentence. Otherwise, the consequences might be disastrous “because the world will hear only the message announced by the Pavia court, namely, that “an army of criminals and bandits is fighting in Ukraine” and Russia is there “to liberate” the territories from these criminal elements.
The rationale of the ruling in Vitaliy Markiv’s case should be made public within two and a half weeks, although the Pavia jury may ask for a delay and submit its text later. As soon as Markiv’s defense team receives the rationale, they will start working on the appeal.
The Milan Court of Appeal, where Markiv’s lawyers will challenge the Pavia verdict, may make the following decisions: uphold the sentence, reduce the prison term, acquit Vitaliy Markiv, or order an investigation at the scene of the crime in Ukraine, which the defense team insisted on, but was refused, during the trial in Pavia. Raffaele Della Valle is convinced that the judges in Milan should acquit Vitaliy Markiv because there is not a shred of evidence of his complicity in the killing of the Italian reporter.
Raffaele Della Valle says that he regularly visits Markiv in the prison.
“Vitaliy is calm. This soldier is ready for the next phase of his fight for justice and he firmly believes in a positive outcome in the Milan court.”
On July 12, the court in Pavia sentenced National Guardsman Vitaliy Markiv to 24 years in prison on charges of complicity in the 2014 killing of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli. The Ukrainian government and public reacted strongly against this decision. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine “to return Vitaliy Markiv to Ukraine”. Subsequently, in a telephone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Zelenskyy “expressed deep concern about the court’s unjustifiable and harsh decision”.