Italian court of appeal fully acquits Ukrainian National Guardsman Vitaliy Markiv
The first instance court has initially sentenced the soldier to 24 years in prison.
The Court of Appeal in Italy’s Milan on Tuesday, November 3, ruled to fully acquit Ukrainian National Guardsman Vitaliy Markiv, who had been accused of complicity in the death of an Italian reporter Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov who were killed in the Donbas warzone in May 2014.
That’s according to Liudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s Ombudsperson.
“The Court of Appeals in Milan has handed down an acquitting verdict in the case of our hero, having fully acquitted him,” the official wrote on her Telegram channel.
“Justice is here!” she added.
Denisova also wrote Markiv would be returning to Ukraine along with the Ukrainian delegation.
Vitaliy Markiv case: background
Deputy platoon commander of the Ukrainian National Guard’s first battalion, senior sergeant Vitaliy Markiv was detained in Italy on June 30, 2017, on suspicion of the murder of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov amid a mortar attack in Donetsk region in May 2014.
According to the Ukrainian investigation, the two were killed in shelling by Russian-led troops.
Ukrainian National Guard officials insisted that the Ukrainian battalion was not armed with mortars in 2014.
The jury in the court of Italy’s Pavia on July 12, 2019, sentenced the Ukrainian guardsman to 24 years in prison. He is also to pay compensation to Rocchelli’s family.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office to immediately address the issue of Markiv’s return to Ukraine.
On November 20, Ukraine filed an appeal against Markiv’s verdict.
It had to be considered by a Lombardy appellate court in the spring of 2020. On March 10, 2020, an Italian appellate court in Milan postponed a hearing in the case of Ukrainian national Vitaliy Markiv over the coronavirus pandemic.
On July 3, 2020, President Zelensky during his phone talks with Italian PM Giuseppe Conte said he hoped for a fair ruling in Markiv’s case and his return home as soon as possible.
The defense team in their appeal asked the court to fully acquit Markiv.