"Five countries – Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium, Malaysia and Australia – notified by a joint letter the UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN Security Council about the start of MH17 criminal trial in the Netherlands," Spokesperson for the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN Oleh Nikolenko told Ukrinform.
He provided a copy of the letter sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the UN Security Council.
“The start of the criminal trial on 9 March 2020 marks an important milestone towards establishing the truth and achieving justice for the victims of Flight MH17 and their next of kin, and holding those responsible for the downing of Flight MH17 to account,” reads the official letter.
As noted, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine have full confidence that the abovementioned legal proceedings “will contribute to achieving justice in accordance with the highest international legal standards of professionalism and independence.” It is also reminded that the UN Security Council resolution 2166 demands that those responsible for the downing of civil jet be held to account.
The trial will be based on evidence gathered by the Joint Investigation Team with the participation of the law enforcement agencies of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. Since 2014, JIT has been conducting an independent international criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17 by Russian forces over Ukraine.
On June 19, 2019, the international Joint Investigation Team named four suspects believed to be involved in the transportation and combat use of the Buk missile system, from which MH17 flight had been downed. Three of them are Russians: Igor Girkin, retired officer of the Russian Armed Forces, and former colonel of Russia’s Federal Security Service; Sergey Dubinskiy, colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces; Oleg Pulatov, lieutenant colonel of the Russian Airborne Forces Reserve. The fourth suspect is Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian civilian, who fought on the side of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
Oleg Pulatov expressed a desire to join the legal proceedings and will be represented in court by a Dutch law firm.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over conflict-hit Donbas in July 2014. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. All of them died. The JIT reported that the plane had been shot down from a Buk missile system that belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.
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