Italian court orders additional expert investigation in Markiv case.

The Milan Court of Appeals did not consider the issue of attaching a package of expert opinions in the case of Ukraine’s National Guard member Vitaliy Markiv that could prove his innocence. At the same time, the court ordered to carry out an additional expert investigation.

"The Court has not yet considered the issue of attaching package of expert opinions, prepared by lawyers, which can prove the innocence of the Ukrainian National Guard serviceman," Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov said after the court hearing, Ministry’s Spokesperson Iaroslav Trakalo posted on Facebook.

Instead, according to Avakov, the prosecution is trying to attach to the case files a phrase "killed a journalist" taken out of context, recorded during Markiv's interrogation in a pre-trial detention center, which the prosecution is trying to interpret as "I killed."

As noted, the court ruled to investigate this circumstance in the case, by re-translating the records to determine the exact meaning of the phrase.

"Lawyers from our side filed their motion, an additional examination was ruled to be carried out. The prosecution is trying to interpret Markiv's indirect words said during interrogation in prison. [The prosecution] tries to interpret that [Markiv] allegedly said ‘I killed’,” the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs quoted Avakov as saying.

According to Avakov, the Ukrainian side handed over the entire package of expert opinions to the court.

The minister said that law enforcement officers conducted an experiment back when Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov were killed.

"We insist that a machine gun cannot be used at 1,500 m and kill someone with aimed fire at the same time. Both Rocchelli and Mironov were not at a line of sight. We also want to attach the recordings, where the shooting which took place 200m away and not from the side of Mount Karachun, can be seen and heard,” Avakov said.

At the same time, according to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, law enforcement officers found a note in Mironov's pocket which revealed his correspondence with so-called press secretary of "people's mayor" of Slovyansk, Stella Khorosheva.

"They arranged a meeting with Girkin. Therefore, we suppose that might have been a provocation: to send foreigners under fire and then ascribe blame to Ukraine," Avakov noted.

He also stressed that the Italian side was officially invited to come to the scene, but no one ever came. "In my opinion, this violates the right of defense, and the judgment of the court of the first instance was emotional," Avakov said.

The Minister also informed that the relatives of the deceased Mironov had held a press conference on Wednesday, and, according to Avakov, they were dissatisfied with Markiv's sentence and considered it invalid.

The next hearings of the Milan Court of Appeals are scheduled for October 15 and 23.

As reported, the first appeal hearing in the case of Ukraine’s National Guard member Vitaliy Markiv, sentenced to 24 years in prison for alleged involvement in the murder of Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov in Donbas in May 2014, ended in the Milan Court of Appeals on September 29.

During the hearing, the Court considered the issue of attaching additional evidence of Markiv's innocence to the case files.

In particular, the presented evidence included a part of The Wrong Place documentary made by Italians Cristiano Tinazzi, Ruben Lagattolla, Danilo Elia, and Ukrainian Olha Tokariuk.

In the summer of 2017, Ukraine’s National Guard member Vitaliy Markiv was detained in Italy on charges of alleged involvement in the murder of Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov. They died as a result of a mortar shelling at the foot of the Karachun Mountain near Slovyansk town on May 24, 2014. At that time, the territory in Donetsk region was controlled by the militants.

On July 12, a court in the Italian town of Pavia sentenced Ukraine’s National Guard member Vitaliy Markiv to 24 years in prison.

Photo credit: Iaroslav Trakalo (Facebook), Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

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