Russia vetoes MH17 resolution
Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on setting up an MH17 international criminal tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing a Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 that killed all 298 people on board.
The United States, Great Britain and France supported the draft resolution, while China abstained, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Two temporary members of the UN Security Coucil – Angola and Venezuela abstained as well.
The draft resolution stated that the UN Security Council “decides to establish an international tribunal for the sole purpose of prosecuting persons responsible for crimes connected with the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July 2014 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, and to this end adopts the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 annexed hereto”.
The corresponding Statute was attached to the draft resolution.
The document called upon all states and actors in the region [including Russia] to fully cooperate in the conduct of the international investigation of the incident.
In particular, the draft resolution stated that “all States shall cooperate fully with the International Tribunal and its organs in accordance with the present resolution and the Statute of the International Tribunal, and that consequently, all States shall take any measures necessary under their domestic law to implement the provisions of the present resolution and the Statute, including the obligation of States to comply with requests for assistance or orders issued in accordance with the Statute of the International Tribunal, and requests States to keep the Secretary-General informed of such measures”.
The International Tribunal was to be funded through voluntary contributions.
It was also noted that the determination of the seat of the International Tribunal was subject to the arrangements between the United Nations and the Netherlands and that the International Tribunal “may sit elsewhere when it considers it necessary for the efficient exercise of its functions”.
Besides, the draft resolution requested the Secretary-General “to implement this resolution urgently, and in particular, to make all practical arrangements, when appropriate in coordination with the Governments of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, The Netherlands and Ukraine, for the effective functioning of the International Tribunal at the earliest time and to report to the Council periodically on the implementation of this resolution”.
The draft Statute read that the Tribunal has jurisdiction with respect to war crimes, crimes against the safety of civil aviation, and Crimes under the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
“This Statute shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity. In particular, official capacity as a Head of State or Government, a member of a government or parliament, an elected representative or a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under this Statute, nor shall it, in and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction of sentence,” read the draft Statute
“Immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, shall not bar the Tribunal from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person,” as noted in the draft.
It was provided that a person may be criminally responsible if that person not only commits such a crime, but also orders, solicits or induces the commission of such a crime, including military commanders or persons effectively acting as military commanders.
“The Trial Chamber shall impose upon a convicted person imprisonment for a specified number of years which may not exceed a maximum of 30 years or for life,” according to the draft Statute. There was a possibility for a Tribunal to conduct trial proceedings in the absence of the accused.