The hearings in the European Court of Human Rights for Russia’s alleged role in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine six years ago have started. Now, the Dutch government is taking Russia to the court, the foreign minister announced Friday.
The Netherlands say that move is intended to support individual cases being brought to the European court by relatives of people whose relatives were killed in 2014. On July 17, 2014, lives of 298 people were taken when a Buk surface-to-air missile.
According to the investigation, Buk was fired from territory controlled by pro-Moscow Ukrainian rebels blew the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight out of the sky.
“Achieving justice for 298 victims of the downing of Flight MH17 is and will remain the government’s highest priority,” the Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said. “By taking this step today … we are moving closer to this goal.”
The European court has heard the applications and responses of the Public Prosecution Service, the requests for investigation and responses of counsel for the accused and the requests of counsel for the MH17 relatives. The matter was addressed at the hearings on 8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 26 June and on 3 July 2020, rechtspraak.nl reports.
Over the years, Russia is repeatedly denying involvement in the downing of the Boeing 777. However, the investigation led by the international team of prosecutors has charged three Russians and a Ukrainian with involvement in bringing down the MH17 and the murder of all passengers and crew on board.
The Dutch prosecutors believe Russia should take responsibility for MH17 tragedy
Prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse says Russian Oleg Pulatov, Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko, who are being tried in absentia, weren’t fighting for a recognised state when the passenger plane was shot down with a missile on July 17, 2014.
He told the District Court of The Hague on Wednesday the four are therefore criminally responsible for the murder of all 298 aboard.
“According to the Dutch criminal law you are not allowed to shoot down aeroplanes and kill persons irrespective of whether these are civilians or military persons,” Ferdinandusse said.