Monday 26 February 2018

Suspects charged with shooting down plane face Dutch court after Russia veto

An emergency worker at the site of a Malaysia Airlines plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region
An emergency worker at the site of a Malaysia Airlines plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region

Roland Oliphant

Suspects charged with involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine will be tried in the Netherlands after Russia blocked efforts to create an international tribunal.

All 298 people onboard were killed when the plane was downed on July 17, 2014, on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Separate inquiries by the Dutch Safety Board and a joint investigation team (JIT) run by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine has determined that the Boeing 777 jet was hit by a Russian-made BUK missile.

The JIT said in September last year that the missile was fired from territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists and transported into rebel-held territory from Russia.

It has yet to name or formally indict suspects in the incident, although Dutch prosecutors have said in the past that they are likely to file murder and possibly war crimes charges.

Russia used its UN Security Council veto to block the creation of an international tribunal to try the case in July 2015, arguing it could "politicise" the issue.

Bery Koenders, the Dutch foreign minister, said yesterday the countries running the JIT had agreed that suspects would be prosecuted in a Dutch court.

In statement, Mr Koenders said the investigation relied on international co-operation because the crime scene remains "the scene of heavy fighting... which is still difficult to access".

He added, that prosecutors had faced "a great deal of disinformation and attempts to discredit the investigation". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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