3 Ukraine Cops Guilty In Reporter's Death

Former police officers Mykola Protasov, left, and Valery Kostenko listen to proceedings during the trial about their alleged involvement in the 2000 killing of Heorhiy Gongadze, a prominent journalist, in Kiev on Monday, Jan. 9, 2006. Valery Kostenko, Mykola Protasov and Alexander Popovych have been charged in connection with the killing of Gongadze, a 31-year-old Internet reporter who wrote about high-level corruption. He was abducted and his beheaded body was found in a forest outside Kiev in 2000, and the incident sparked months of protests against former President Leonid Kuchma. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
A Ukrainian court on Saturday convicted three former police officers of killing an investigative journalist nearly eight years ago, ending a high-profile trial that Heorhiy Gongadze's family say has failed to bring the true masterminds to justice.

Mykola Protasov was sentenced to 13 years in jail while Valeriy Kostenko and Oleksandr Popovych each received 12-year sentences.

Gongadze's beheaded body was found in a forest outside Kiev in November 2000.

Gongadze crusaded against official corruption. His killing triggered months of protests after Mykola Melnychenko, a former bodyguard to then-President Leonid Kuchma, released tape recordings in which voices resembling those of Kuchma and others were heard conspiring against the journalist.

Oleksiy Pukach, the former chief of the Interior Ministry's surveillance department, is also wanted for the murder and is being sought on an international warrant.

Investigations have failed to track down those who ordered the killing.