Hague Court’s decision on MH17 case is first step on path of truth and accountability, says Borrell

18 November 2022, 05:07 PM
EU reiterates call to Russia to accept responsibility (Photo:Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool/File Photo/Reuters)

EU reiterates call to Russia to accept responsibility (Photo:Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool/File Photo/Reuters)

The verdict of the Hague Court in the case of the shooting down of MH17 is an important first step on the path of truth and accountability, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said in a statement on Nov. 17.

“Today’s verdict is an important first step on the path of truth and accountability,” he said.

“The EU reiterates its call on Russia to accept its responsibility in this tragedy and cooperate fully with the ongoing investigations.”

Borrell reiterated that the European Union had repeatedly asked for a swift clarification of the circumstances and for an international investigation to shed full light on this tragedy.

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“We have been equally consistent in condemning such acts of violence threatening the safety of civil aviation, which are grave violations of international peace and security,” the official said.

He added, the criminal investigation into the involvement of other individuals is still ongoing, just like the proceedings against the Russian state at the European Court for Human Rights and at the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The District Court of The Hague in The Netherlands on Nov. 17 sentenced three suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 to life imprisonment.

Three of the suspects – Igor Girkin, Leonid Kharchenko and Sergey Dubinsky – were found guilty of 298 charges of murder, one for every passenger and crew member on the flight.

Another suspect in the case, Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted by the court, which decided that there was no evidence directly establishing his personal involvement in the crime.

Those found guilty must pay EUR 16 million in compensation to the relatives of the victims.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by the Russian military on July 17, 2014, over an occupied portion of the Donbas. There were no survivors among the 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was established in August 2014, and included Russian representatives. In July 2015, Russia blocked a UN Security Council proposal to create an international tribunal to investigate the downing of MH17.

In 2016, the JIT concluded that MH17 was downed by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system launched from near the city of Snizhne, Donetsk Oblast. Investigators say that the missile system was supplied and delivered to eastern Ukraine by Russia.

In early 2020, Dutch prosecutors charged four individuals in the MH17 case – Dubinsky, Girkin, Pulatov and Kharchenko.

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