We at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and our member centers were shocked by the brutal murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiance, Martina Kušnírová, on Feb. 21, 2018.
In response, OCCRP, investigace.cz, the Investigative Centre of Ján Kuciak, Aktuality.sk, and many other media organizations embarked on a project to continue reporting Kuciak’s important work, while also investigating the murders and attempting to hold those responsible to account.
The police investigation concluded that Slovak oligarch Marián Kočner had ordered Kuciak’s murder to silence him and intimidate any other Slovak journalists who might examine Kočner’s activities. Kočner was indicted in March, and a trial in the case is scheduled to begin on Dec. 19.
In the course of investigating the murders, Slovak police generated at least 57 terabytes of electronic data. After the police investigation concluded, OCCRP obtained a copy of most of the official files, including raw evidence seized and gathered by the police. The data was provided to OCCRP with the hope the organization could hold the Slovak justice system accountable and ensure justice for Kuciak.
OCCRP is working to safely archive, catalog, and process the files and ensure the data is usable and accessible for future analysis. In coming months, we will make it available to responsible media outlets that meet the highest ethical and journalistic standards and work in the public interest.
It is possible that, in the run-up to next year’s Slovak elections, corrupt media outlets will falsely claim to have access to the police investigation. Our archive will serve as a trusted public repository that will confirm true claims and disprove misinformation and lies regarding the investigation.