News

March 15, 2019

Kuciak murder charge hailed as “step towards ending impunity” in Slovakia

Marian Kocner / AFP
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails the announcement that a controversial Slovak businessman has been charged with ordering the February 2018 murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová, but urges the Slovak authorities to pursue the investigation and not rule the possibility that other people were also behind this double murder.

Just over a year after the reporter and his partner were shot dead in their home, the prosecutor’s office announced at a press conference yesterdayin Bratislava that businessman Marian Kočner has been charged with “having ordered the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak” and that the Kuciak’s journalism was the motive. The charge was based on “objective evidence” that could not be revealed for the time being, a prosecutor said.

 

This Slovak prosecutor’s office decision is extremely encouraging,” RSF’s European Union desk said. “It is a step towards ending the impunity that journalists’ predators only too often enjoy. We call for the case to move ahead quickly regardless of Marian Kočner’s links with Slovak politicians. It is still essential to pursue the investigation and, in particular, to make sure that Ján Kuciak’s murder didn’t have any co-instigators.”

 

Kočner has long been suspected of having had a part in Kuciak’s death and has been in preventive detention since last June. A notorious press freedom predator, he threatened Kuciak in connection with articles that the reporter wrote about him. Four other people were charged last year with involvement in carrying out the double murder.

 

Slovakia is ranked 27th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index after falling ten places as a result of Kuciak’s murder.