At the Rocchelli Trial Markiv speaks: I had no mortars

The man accused of the Italian photojournalist’s murder told the judges in Pavia that he was only to monitor the area and raise the alarm.

This report by Giacomo Bertoni was prepared by Ossigeno for Information in collaboration with La Provincia Pavese, National Union of Italian Reporters, the Lombardy Order of Journalists in order to supplement the media reports with an objective, prompt and exhaustive account of the trial proceedings at the Court in Pavia where the alleged perpetrator of the killing of the Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and the Russian journalist Andrey Mironov is on trial. This text was published on the oxygen.info website and was sent to the OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media in Vienna, who is following the story closely. Read the previous articles here

“My job on the hill was just to watch. I didn’t have mortars available. Vitaly Markiv described his duties in the Ukrainian National Guard during his hearing on Friday the 15th March 2019, which focused entirely on examining his statements.

Markiv is accused of the murder of the Pavel photojournalist Andy Rocchelli, killed in Ukraine while documenting the conditions of civilians during the war. “My task on the hill was to monitor the situation” – explained Markiv answering the questions of the prosecuting magistrate Andrea Zanoncelli -.“If I noticed any suspicious movements, I communicated it via radio to my superiors and waited for orders. My superiors sometimes even disagreed with the officers of the Ukrainian army. We could only shoot to respond to an attack “.

Markiv then explained that the view of the Zeus ceramic plant (the factory near which Andy Rocchelli and Andrei Mironov were killed) was limited : “You could not see well because of a wall raised with sandbags. Moreover he said –“ the distance was very great , more than 1,600 meters. So we saw only silhouettes. As soldiers of the National Guard we did not have mortars, but only Ak-74 rifles and some machine guns. Between the end of May and the beginning of June 2014 mortars were brought to the hill but they were only available to the army “.

Markiv was also questioned by the lawyers of the Rocchelli family, Emanuele Tambuscio and Alessandra Ballerini, regarding the photographs found on his tablet that showed a hooded prisoner of war with a chain around his neck: “These are photos that circulated in the Viber and Whatsapp groups – Markiv said, -, photos of captured pro-Russian terrorists. The situation there was increasingly unstable “.

Giacomo Bertoni (wt)

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