The Hague Court sentences three suspects in Flight MH17 crash to life imprisonment

17 November 2022, 06:24 PM
Trial lasted more than two years (Photo:REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)

Trial lasted more than two years (Photo:REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)

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

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

Another suspect in the case, Oleg Pulatov, has been acquitted by the court, which decided that there is no evidence directly establishing Pulatov’s personal involvement in the crime.

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Girkin, Dubinsky, and Kharchenko were also found guilty of taking actions that led to the downing of the plane.

The Dutch prosecutor’s office asked for and received life imprisonment for all the guilty parties.

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, which included Russian representatives. In July 2015, Russia blocked the UN Security Council’s proposal to create an international tribunal to investigate the MH17 downing.

In 2016, the JIT concluded that MH17 was downed by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system launched from around 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, who are often referred to in evidence materials by their noms de guerre: Sergey “Hmuriy” Dubinsky, Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, Oleg “Guyrza” Pulatov and Leonid “Krot” Kharchenko.

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