Authorities in Ukraine on Tuesday opened a murder case against former president Leonid Kuchma over his alleged links to the beheading of an opposition journalist.
Georgy Gongadze, one of the ex-head of state’s biggest critics, was found dead in 2000.
However, state prosecutors stopped short of accusing Kuchma of masterminding his killing.
“Leonid Kuchma is suspected of abuse of power, of giving illegal instructions to the Interior Ministry’s leadership, which consequently led to the murder of the journalist,” said Deputy Prosecutor Renat Kuzmin.
For years, Kuchma’s opponents have accused him of being implicated in the crime and held mass protests on the anniversary of his death to call for a proper investigation.
They point to tape recordings which surfaced in 2000 in which Kuchma and ex-interior minister Yury Kravchenko allegedly discuss Gongadze’s murder.