More than eight years after MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, a Dutch court has found three defendants guilty, and they must pay at least €16m to the families of the victims. The same court, which met under tight security near Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, acquitted a fourth defendant, the Russian Oleg Bulatov, from whom the Malaysian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur took off.
MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Russian-made missile It was launched from Ukraine when Russia was controlling separatist forces in that region. 298 people died, including many Dutch, and the court found guilty of those deaths Russian citizens Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, who remained in Russia, whose government refuses to extradite them. The presiding judge, Hendrik Stenhuis, regretted that none of the four men appeared in court, in the case that has been ongoing since March 2020. Only Bulatov has had lawyers representing him in court.
Caused the Malaysia Airlines plane to be shot down Panic around the world. The defendants held high positions among the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine: Girkin was a Russian intelligence officer and the commander of the separatists in Donbass, known as “Strelkov”; Dubinsky was a Russian officer and Gherkin’s deputy. Bulatov, as well as Dubinsky’s adjutant. Ukrainian Kharchenko commanded a combat unit in the region.
The central issue in the process was that the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic was under the control of the Russian Federation at that time. Play the four defendants A major role In the mission of transporting and launching a surface-to-air missile of the Buk air defense system, with which the plane was shot down, according to the findings of an international investigation team. “Our relatives were the first victims of the Ukrainian war on an international level,” said Pete Ploig, who lost several relatives in the accident, yesterday.
The missile exploded on the left side of the cabin at 15:20, about 10 kilometers over the disputed area in eastern Ukraine. Hundreds of tiny particles penetrated the jet. The Hague Tribunal is certain that the Buk system and the missile were brought to Ukraine from Russia and that the shot was fired from close range Pervomaisk city. The court said the missile was not fired by accident and could not have been launched by people without the necessary technical knowledge.
The central issue in the process was that the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic was under the control of the Russian Federation at that time.
Victims came from ten countries and hundreds of relatives wanted to attend the verdict, 80 of whom came from Australia. While reading the sentence, they were able to hear that, at that moment, The war was already going on in Donbassin eastern Ukraine, and that international investigators were able to determine that the Buk missile came from Russia and that it belonged to the Russian military. According to these investigators, the plane was shot down from a rebel-held field. The weapon was then shipped across the border back to Russia.
Moscow strongly rejects all accusations and blames Ukraine above all. The Kremlin has never recognized the results of the investigations as valid, nor has it recognized the court’s authority to hear the case. Finally, the criminal judges agreed Prosecution logicIt is clear that the four accused did not personally press the release button. But through a series of evidence, the plaintiffs were able to prove that they were responsible for obtaining the weapon and the process of demolishing the plane.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office provided ample evidence in the form of photos, videos, statements, radio recordings and satellite imagery. But also, a lot of evidence came from From open sources or social networks. “This digital evidence is a new field of law,” congratulated attorney Marieke de Hoon herself. “The recognition of their veracity may be important for other war crimes trials.”