“We need the truth. We want to know what happened, we hope those responsible will be found and justice will be done. That’s what Pierre wants, so we have to do it.” With an emotional voice, Nicholas Zakrzevsky expresses his determination. Along with his brother Gregory, he welcomed the “Fill Inquiry” team to his home on the outskirts of Dublin (Ireland) on May 19. The 55-year-old Franco-Irish cinematographer, who worked for the Fox News Channel, is speaking to the French media for the first time since the death of his older brother, Pierre Zakrzewski, who was killed in Ukraine on March 14.
He was the first French journalist to be killed in Ukraine. On Monday, May 30, BFMTV’s colleague Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff died on the spot while reporting on a humanitarian convoy.
Pierre Zakrzewski is a passionate and experienced cinematographer who covers many conflicts: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan. “A model” For his brothers describing a man “Honest, humane and funny” Who is desired above all else “To tell the impact of war on the people through his pictures”. However, “He was careful, Says Gregory. You have not been careless in these dangerous places for thirty years. “
From Ukraine, where he arrived in early February, Pierre continued to send reassuring text messages to his family. “He didn’t tell us, but I think he cares.”This 50-year-old architect who lives in Dublin continues.
At this time, troops from Moscow were at the gates of Q. “It was a very difficult battlefield because there was no real front line, He points out. The Russians were everywhere, the Ukrainians were everywhere, so managing the situation was complicated.
When the tragedy occurred, on March 14, Pierre was questioned by a “complementary investigation” according to Ukrainian judicial evidence that he was on duty in the northwest, the small town of Moschun, a high-risk area. “We know he was in the car with Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall and their Ukrainian fixer Olexandra. Says Gregory. Not the bombs, but the shells or missiles fired, and they were badly wounded, except for Benjamin Hall. “ Bear would have died instantly outside the car.
The news of his death reaches the whole family the next day. First reported to his wife Michael, followed by his five siblings. “I do not want to live in a moment like this anymore”Nicholas breathes. “It simply came to our notice then. This 49-year-old computer scientist adds. We know his work is dangerous.
“Intellectually, yes, we thought something might happen to him. But you would never be willing to know about your brother’s death.”Nicholas Zakrowski
“For further investigation”
It took five days to return the body, which was managed by crews of his employer, Fox News. Pierre Zakrzewski was buried in his native Ireland. The media around the world published his sad death. “It simply came to our notice thenNicholas slips away. The day after he died, I stood at a station to pick up gas, there were newspapers, his photo, with his face, was everywhere. That made me sad. “
Since then, this close family has wanted to know the exact circumstances of Pierre’s death. Important questions remain unanswered. Were Pierre and his colleagues identified as journalists? Who fired the shots and were they deliberately targeted? They welcomed the French National Anti-Terrorism Attorney’s Office (PNAT)’s March 16 war crimes trial. “We are very pleased with the decision of the French authorities. It is important to know how this happened, to Pierre and to all the risk-taking reporters.”Gregory insists.
“Journalists need to be protected. When such tragedies occur, the only way to find out the consequences is to follow the judiciary and find out the truth.”Nicholas Zakrowski
“For further investigation”
Due to the international dimension, the two brothers are preparing for a practice that will last for many years, due to the need to conduct investigations in a war-torn country.
Since the beginning of the conflict, eight journalists have already been killed in Ukraine, which is now a very dangerous country for media professionals. Following the death of BFMTV journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, the Office of the National Counter-Terrorism Attorney also launched a war crimes investigation.
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