- "This trial is an important milestone in the efforts to ensure justice for the 298 victims and their families," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
- The EU and NATO called on Russia to cooperate on the destruction of the MH17.
- Russia does not extradite its citizens, so the trial will be conducted in absentia.
The European Union and NATO have welcomed the start of the criminal trial for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. MH17 was shot down over the Donbas region of Ukraine in July 2014. Russia has been called upon to cooperate in the investigation of this tragedy, which killed all 298 people aboard the airliner.
“This trial is an important milestone in the efforts to ensure justice for the 298 victims and their families,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borrell made a similar statement on behalf of all 27 EU countries on Saturday, March 7, in Brussels.
He called on all countries, including Russia, to cooperate in the investigation of the tragedy. Stoltenberg pointed out that it was important to clarify the truth and ensure justice. At the same time, Russia still expresses doubts about the results of an international investigation into the downing of MH17.
Schiphol Airport Lawsuit
The MH17 trial will begin on March 9th. The case will be heard by the court in The Hague in the territory of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, specially prepared for the process since the majority of the victims of the crash are citizens of the Netherlands. Charges are brought against three Russians and one Ukrainian. According to investigators, MH17 was shot down by a Russian Buk missile while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The defendants in the case were put on the international most wanted list. They deny their guilt. Since Russia does not extradite its citizens, hearings against the accused will be held in absentia. Russia constantly questions the findings of the international investigation team. The international community criticizes Moscow, citing the fact that, by supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, it has actually created the conditions for the destruction of the Malaysian plane.
Investigators in June 2019 quoted a telephone conversation between the assistant to the president of the Russian Federation, Vladislav Surkov, and the then-prime minister of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” Alexander Borodai. New released records showed the negotiations with the participation of a senior Kremlin official, who became a defendant in a criminal case in the Netherlands.
The interceptions contain the names that had not previously appeared in the case. The new suspect, apparently, is “General Vladimir Ivanovich from the FSB,” who, according to interceptions, gave permission to place unnamed weapons on Ukrainian territory. JIT investigators are asking for help in identifying him.
The published talks are not talking directly about either the BUK anti-aircraft missile system or the Boeing crash. The published notes are intended to testify to the close contacts between the leadership of the separatist regions and the leadership of Russia. JIT explained their publication by saying that the investigation hopes to “get additional information about who gave orders to Borodai, the accused Girkin, other leaders of the “DPR,” and the crew of the BUK air defense system in the summer of 2014.
The international investigation team previously stated that it would not necessarily be limited to bringing charges to the three previously named Russians and a citizen of Ukraine.