“For four years we have been asking for justice for Andrea and Andrej”

That was the message sent by the relatives of Andrea Rocchelli to “Ossigeno per l’Informazione” on the occasion of the International Day to put an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.

Four and a half years ago the killing of Andrea Rocchelli and Andrej Mironov and the serious wounding of William Roguelon in Sloviansk in Ukraine on the 24th May 2014 led to the opening of an investigation initially dismissed as an accident against the background of the armed conflict in the Donbass region.

The reality emerged later; two photo-journalists and an exceptional interpreter of different generations aged between 20 and 60, harmless and armed only with their cameras became the targets of a ferocious attack from both light and heavy weapons which killed two of them, the Italian Andrea and the Russian Andrej.

Their story is one of a commitment to inform which neither sought scoops nor was it the fruit of improvisation or recklessness. Andrea and Andrej collaborated harmoniously and wanted to report on the lives of families remaining trapped in an undeclared fratricidal civil war unknown to public opinion.

Violated rights and hidden violence in a disturbed daily life, terror and desperation are captured in the photos of Andrea who with Andrej visited every day houses and underground refuges of civilians, their children and the orphans created by the conflict.

On the Ukrainian side silence, the disinterest and the superficiality of the conduct of the investigations, the delaying manoeuvres, the bureaucratic interment and even side-tracking were not absent in these years with the result that those who should have and still could reconstruct the sequence of the facts which were in any case clearly supported by several eye-witnesses, looked elsewhere. There are long-running games being played out, between on the one hand relatives of Andrea Rocchelli but also friends of Andrej Mironov, colleagues and admirers of one and the other who want to highlight and focus upon the direct and indirect responsibilities, the murderers and those behind the deaths of the two honest and courageous journalists and on the other hand, those interested in suspending and misdirecting the investigations.

It has to be said that the Italian justice system, instead, has moved with determination and competence producing very relevant results and the Italian Federation of the Press (FNSI) has stood firmly alongside us, always in the frontline in the defence of the independence, the safety and security of journalists. The passing of time wears down the determination of individuals but we are convinced that the Italian and international institutions continue to follow this game which has as objective justice and truth, a vital commitment for the guarantee of freedom of information and for the defence of violated human rights.


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