Director-General condemns killing of Russian journalist Yevgeny GerasimenkoThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the killing of Russian journalist Yevgeny Gerasimenko who was found dead in his apartment in Saratov, in southeastern Russia, on 26 July.
“I condemn the killing of Yevgeny Gerasimenko,” the Director-General declared. “I am deeply concerned about this murder and trust that the authorities will spare no effort in finding the culprits of this heinous crime against democracy and rule of law. It is important for the whole of society that the fundamental human right of freedom of expression be respected and that such crimes do not go unpunished.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that Gerasimenko, a correspondent for the independent weekly Saratovsky Rasklad, was found dead in his apartment with a plastic bag over his head and multiple bruises on his body. Police is reported to have found no signs of violent entry in the apartment, but Gerasimenko's computer is said to have been missing, local reports said.
According to the CPJ, Mr Gerasimenko’s colleagues believe that the murder may be connected to his professional investigation of a local corporate takeover. At least 12 journalists have been killed in the Russian Federation since 2000, according to the CPJ.
UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this purpose the Organization is required to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”