First Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Dmytro Storozhuk has been holding this position since June of last year. He is responsible for a quite important direction - supervision over observance of laws on the part of the Security Service of Ukraine, State Fiscal Service, Customs and National Police. Storozhuk also coordinates work of the Ukrainian investigators working on the case of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down by the Russian Buk missile in July of 2014.
The First Deputy Prosecutor General told in an interview with Ukrinform about the completion of the investigation into this case.
- Does the International Investigation Group have new information on case of shooting down the MH17 flight?
- The General Prosecutor's Office has a field office of the International Joint Investigation Team, where our employees together with investigators from the Security Service and the law enforcement agencies of Australia and the Netherlands are investigating these criminal proceedings.
Our joint work has brought results. We are ready to serve with charges and hand over materials to the court. Why have not we done this yet? The judicial jurisdiction in this case is being determined. Conceptually, it can be the court of the Netherlands. But there are legal conflicts in our legislation and in the legislation of the Netherlands regarding the extradition of suspects for conviction. For Ukraine, it would be better for the hearings to take place within the framework of the international tribunal or in the national court of the Netherlands. This eliminates the possibility of the Russian Federation to accuse us of a politically charged trial in this case.
- How many people are involved in the downing of the plane, who you are ready to serve with charges?
- Based on the results of the investigation, we have identified 120 people who are involved in the case of the shooting down of flight MH17. We plan quite interesting but incredibly complicated operations, which will involve all law enforcement agencies of five countries participating in the International Joint Investigative Group. We want real people to be punished and be brought to the court.
- How do you plan to bring suspects to the court?
- I cannot tell you now, because Russians will read this.
- Does Russia cooperate with the investigation?
- Dutch chief prosecutor and investigation coordinator Fred Westerbeke said that he had already twice applied for international legal assistance to the Russian Federation and had received no response. They deny absolutely everything. Their position is that there are no Russian troops and equipments on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
- Does anybody of the participants of the illegal armed groups cooperate with the investigation?
- Even if somebody does I cannot say this.
- In January of this year, a Dutch journalist discovered a bone fragment belonging to one of the victims of the tragedy. In this regard, Dutch Security and Justice Minister Stef Blok said that Ukraine is expected to renew its search for human remains at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Will new search operations be held?
- We have no confirmation, but, according to unofficial data, this was a "husband" of the man who was killed there. And to get into the crash site, he coordinated with the militants, maybe even paid them big money.
As of today, we do not have the opportunity to check out the scene of the plane crash, as this territory is an area of combat operations and is controlled by terrorists and Russian military officers. And all members of the International Joint Investigative Group are aware of this.
- It has been recently reported that the investigators cannot decode radar data provided by Russia. Did they provide their data scientists?
- The issue is not that it is impossible to decode the radar data, they are decoded, but that the data was provided in an inappropriate format, not in the so-called ASTERIX-STANDART required by ICAO. The data in this format contains not only radar-screen images, but also the data of "protocols" that contain information about the objects detected by the radar, even those that were not indicated on the monitor. So, the most interesting part of data for the investigation was not provided by the Russian side. There is no cooperation.
- Russian representatives say that Ukraine is responsible for the downed plane, because we did not close the airspace...
- There are no rules that would force a country to close the airspace. It is not closed over Syria, as well as over Afghanistan... In such cases, airlines plan a route bypassing dangerous zones and using other air corridors. Ukraine raised the lowest safe altitude for flights to 9,750 meters. Nobody could imagine that there will be weapon equipment on this territory that can shot down the plane.
Alla Shershen, Kyiv