JIT countries confirm support for Dutch prosecution of MH17 suspects
On Wednesday in New York the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine confirmed their political support and cooperation with regard to the prosecution of MH17 suspects in the Netherlands, the Dutch Foreign Ministry reports.
Bert Koenders, the Dutch foreign minister, joined his counterparts in signing an agreement drawn up for this purpose, according to the report.
The five countries are already working together in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the criminal investigation.
By signing this written agreement they have made a long-term commitment to the prosecution and trial of those accused of downing flight MH17, agreeing to continue working in partnership to implement UN Security Council resolution 2166.
Earlier this year the JIT countries decided that the prosecution and trial of the suspects would take place in the Netherlands.
Commenting on the agreement, Mr Koenders said: "The JIT countries are determined to bring the perpetrators to justice. This written agreement is clear evidence of that. In July we decided on a prosecution under Dutch law, but with lasting international cooperation and support. After all, the process of establishing the truth and achieving justice is not for the Dutch victims alone, but for all the victims, who came from 17 countries spread across five continents. The deaths of 298 innocent people, including 196 Dutch victims, cannot and must not go unpunished. We will continue working tirelessly to achieve justice, together with the JIT countries and with broad support from the international community."
As reported earlier, The Netherlands has decided the trial of suspects involved in the plane crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Donbas in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, will be held in The Hague after an agreement was reached that the suspects would be held liable in accordance with the Dutch law.
UNIAN memo. Malaysia Airlines' MH17 Boeing 777 heading from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014, over militant-occupied territory in Donetsk region. All 298 people on board who were citizens of 10 countries were killed in the crash. The majority of the victims, 196, were citizens of the Netherlands.
Read alsoNetherlands amending legislation to implement absentee justice in MH17 caseThe Dutch Safety Board October 13, 2015, issued a report on the causes of the accident. It was revealed that the plane had been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system. The Joint Investigation Team in its report published on September 28, 2016, confirmed that the plane had been downed by a Russian-made Buk brought to Ukraine from Russia.
No suspects have been named, though Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said last year his office has identified 100 "persons of interest" in the investigation, including those who organized the arrival of the rocket and oversaw its transport from Russia to Ukraine and back.