Prosecutors to complete investigation of Pukach, Gongadze murder suspect, by autumn
April 21, 2010, 1:03 p.m. | Ukraine
— by Interfax-Ukraine
Oleksiy Pukach, the former chief of the main criminal investigation department at the ministry's foreign surveillance unit, was long on the wanted list, and arrested in Zhytomyr region on July 21, 2000
The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine plans to complete its investigation into the case of Oleksiy Pukach, the former head of the Interior Ministry's external surveillance department, by the end of this summer, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko has said.
"We plan to complete the investigation this summer," Medvedko said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, which was published on Tuesday.
According to the prosecutor general, the materials of the case, the testimonies by witnesses and the conclusions by experts confirm the testimony given by Pukach.
"I promise that in July-August, when we plan to complete the investigation, you'll know whether Pukach is to be brought to responsibility alone or with somebody else," Medvedko added.
As reported, journalist Georgiy Gongadze disappeared in Kyiv on September 16, 2000. Experts came to the conclusion that a headless corpse found in a forest in Kyiv region in November of the same year was likely to be his body.
The body remains unburied, as the journalist's mother, Lesia Gongadze, has refused to have it interred before the head is found.
In 2008, three former officials of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's foreign surveillance department and criminal intelligence unit - Colonels Valeriy Kostenko and Mykola Protasov, and Major Oleksandr Popovych, were found guilty of killing the journalist and sentenced to 12 (Kostenko and Popovych) and 13 (Protasov) years in prison.
Pukach, the former chief of the main criminal investigation department at the ministry's foreign surveillance unit, was long on the wanted list, and arrested in Zhytomyr region on July 21, 2009, as a result of a joint operation by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Prosecutor General's Office.
On July 23, 2009, Kyiv's Pechersky district court decided to remand Pukach, who is charged with being involved with Gongadze's murder, in custody.