The plane was shot down over Russia-occupied Donbas in 2014 / REUTERS

The trial of four suspects in the July 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 will continue in November.

The decision was announced by Judge Hendrik Steenhuis at a meeting of the District Court of The Hague at the Schiphol Judicial Complex, a suburb of Amsterdam, on Monday, September 28, according to an UNIAN correspondent. The meeting was broadcast live on the official website on the MH17 trial.

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"We will indeed suspend the [consideration of the] case [today], and that applies in the cases of all four accused. And this suspension will be until Tuesday, November 3, 2020, at 10 a.m. [CET]… We will continue in all four cases on November 3," the judge said.

The Summary of the Day in Court for Monday, September 28, also briefed on progress by the defense. "In recent weeks the members of counsel visited the Russian Federation and spoke with their client there. Today the defense has adopted the position that these conversations have yielded so many new insights that they have not yet been able to submit additional requests for further investigation. They have indicated that they will be able to submit all their requests on November 3, 2020," it said.

The court shall give the defense the opportunity to present the additional requests for investigation in the block of hearings starting on November 3, 2020. The defense shall need to substantiate those requests properly, indicating why those requests could not be submitted earlier.

"In the next hearing block from November 3, 2020, the defense will have the opportunity to submit the other requests for further investigation. The Public Prosecution Service will be able to respond. In that hearing block the court shall take a decision on those requests as well," it said.

Background

  • 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 (JIT) 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.
  • The MH17 trial process began on March 9, 2020.