Malaysia's approach to MH17 based on evidence, not politics - ambassador

Malaysia's approach to MH17 based on evidence, not politics - ambassador

Ukrinform
Malaysia is committed to achieve justice in the investigation into the downing of flight MH17, but its approach has always been based on evidence rather than political influence. In this context, the position of incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on the MH17 case does not differ from the position of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Malaysian Ambassador to Ukraine Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah said this in an exclusive interview with Ukrinform, when asked whether the Malaysian authorities' attitude to the MH17 case has changed since February last year, after the resignation of Mahathir Mohammad, who saw no convincing evidence that Russia should be held responsible for the MH17 crash.

"Despite the change in the Malaysian government and the leadership from Tun Dr. Mahathir to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in 2020, Malaysia's position on MH17 remains unchanged. We are still committed to the Joint Investigation Team process, and we still maintain that we want to have a transparent, credible and also effective process of the trial, based on the rule of law, in order for justice to prevail. So our approach has always been based on evidence, not to be influenced by any political motives," he said.

The ambassador added: " In that sense, we always reiterate that the downing of MH17 should not be attributed to any country until the District Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, has examined all the evidence and delivered its judgment later, which I think is going to be a long process."

He said that Malaysia would not take sides until the completion of the criminal investigation. "Other parties are free to file any legal actions, like what Ukraine is doing. So these are all parallel and alternative actions to seek justice," the ambassador said, commenting on two applications from the victims' relatives and a lawsuit filed by the Netherlands before the European Court of Human Rights  to support the victims' relatives.

Malaysia is one of the five countries in the Joint Investigation Team, together with Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, and Ukraine, and has pledged to contribute $5.7 million for the trial. The money will be allocated in the first quarter of 2021 and will cover all expenses, including security, transportation, communication, facilities, including Ukraine's liaison office and other contingencies expenses, Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah said.

According to the ambassador, the MH17 tragedy has brought Malaysia and Ukraine closer. "I know this is a painful process for the family members but we are very pleased that finally, the trial has started in The Hague. There are four people who have been accused in the court. Although the trial is being conducted in absentia, meaning the accused are not present, we hope that at the end of the trial the family members of the 298 passengers and crewmembers will have something to say, 'Okay, now we know who is responsible for the downing of MH17.' For me it is important to seek the truth, but we must follow a true, credible and transparent trial," he said.

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 international Joint Investigation Team 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.

The Hague District Court in March 2020 began to consider the case of the downing of flight MH17.

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