Dutch government informs UN Security Council on MH17 trial

20:29, 06 March 2020
World
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The crash site in Russia-occupied Donbas / REUTERS

The Dutch government has informed the United Nations Security Council that four fugitive suspects charged with the murder of 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) downed over Russia-occupied Donbas in July 2014 will go on trial in the Netherlands on Monday.

"The criminal trial of four individuals suspected of downing flight MH17 begins on March 9, 2020. This is an important milestone that brings us a step closer to establishing the truth and achieving justice for the victims and their next of kin," the Dutch government said in an official statement on its website on March 6. "Today, the Netherlands notified the UN Security Council about the start of the trial, on behalf of all the countries in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) – Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine."

Read alsoMH17 trial: Russia's GRU tried to hinder, influence probe on multiple fronts, Dutch report says

Last June the Public Prosecution Service decided to prosecute the four individuals, with the unanimous support of the investigative authorities in the other JIT countries. "The criminal investigation into the involvement of other persons is still in progress. In line with UN resolution 2166, the Netherlands calls on all countries, including the Russian Federation, to cooperate fully with the JIT's criminal investigation," it said.

"The trial will take time and require patience. The government has great respect for the way the next of kin are dealing with this situation. By tracking down and prosecuting those responsible for the downing of flight MH17, we are getting ever closer to establishing what happened. This remains the highest priority for the government. The deaths of 298 innocent people of 17 different nationalities cannot go unpunished. We are committed to this goal, together with the other JIT countries and with the broad support of the international community," the Dutch government said.

Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesperson for the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN, said on Twitter that the five member states of the Joint Investigation Team – Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium, Malaysia and Australia – had sent a joint letter to the President of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, informing them that the criminal trial in the downing of flight MH17 begins on March 9.

UNIAN memo. Malaysia Airlines' MH17 Boeing 777 heading from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Russia-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. The 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. On June 19, 2019, JIT investigators accused four Russia-controlled military intelligence officers of involvement in a missile attack that shot down MH17. The first four suspects in the MH17 case are Russian terrorist Igor Girkin (AKA "Strelkov"), who in the summer of 2014 was the so-called "Minister of Defense of the Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR"); Russian General Sergei Dubinsky (nom de guerre "Khmuryi"), who led the "DPR intelligence;" Oleg Pulatov (nom de guerre "Gyurza"), who in 2014 headed of "the 2nd division of the GRU of the DPR;" as well as Leonid Kharchenko (nom de guerre "Krot"), who was a leader of the "reconnaissance battalion" of Russia-led forces.

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