The process takes place in accordance with Dutch law, and not international, since the majority of victims (193 people) were citizens of the Netherlands
March 9 in the Hague begins hearings on the case of the crash in the summer of 2014 passenger Boeing 777 of the airline “Malaysian airlines”, July 17, which was carrying out flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, but was shot down over the Donbas from the Russian anti-aircraft missile complex “Buk”
Suspect (three Russians and one Ukrainian) will be charged on two counts of the criminal code of the Netherlands of involvement in the Downing of flight MH17, which killed all passengers and the murder of 298 people on Board
Photo: Ministerie van Defensie / commons.wikimedia.org
March 9 in the Hague at 10:00 local time (12:00 MSK) began hearings on the case of the crash in the summer of 2014 passenger Boeing 777 of the airline “Malaysian airlines”, July 17, which was carrying out flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, but was shot down over the Donbas from the Russian anti-aircraft missile complex “Buk”.
Suspect (three Russians and one Ukrainian) will be charged on two counts of the criminal code of the Netherlands of involvement in the Downing of flight MH17, which killed all passengers and the murder of 298 people on Board. The process takes place in accordance with Dutch law, and not international, since the majority of victims (193 people) were citizens of the Netherlands. The maximum penalty on these items is life imprisonment. Court is held in correspondence mode, as the chances of the suspects to be in the dock void.
Among the Russians, the murder suspects, a former head of the armed forces DND Colonel Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov, the commander of the reconnaissance General-major Sergey Dubinsky Callsign “Gloomy” and his Deputy Colonel Oleg Pulatov. They were all put on the international wanted list, received a warrant for their arrest. Dubinsky, Pulatov and Gunmen now live in Russia, and the accused is a citizen of Ukraine Leonid Kharchenko, in the East of Ukraine, on the territory uncontrolled by the government.
The trial is in the judicial complex Schiphol (“Schiphol”) to 50 km from the Hague. This complex has the highest level of security and is typically used at meetings on very serious cases. Consider the case will be a panel of three judges headed by Hendrik Steinheiser, who delivered opening remarks and described how the hearings will take place at the initial stage, about the accused and their protection. According to him, about 84 relatives of the passengers intend to seek financial compensation from the accused in the case.
The judge ruled that the hearing may continue, despite the fact that none of the four suspects it is not present. “We proceed from the fact that they have not exercised their right” to attend a meeting, he said.
– What can we expect from the court on MH17
– Relatives of the dead passengers held a protest at the Russian Embassy (PHOTO)
The process promises to be long. While the schedule of hearings is composed of only a year till 26 Mar 2021. In the first week of the trial will deal exclusively with the administration. At the first meeting plan to define the participants in the process.
For the prosecution against three of the Prosecutor. As for the defense – a group of lawyers who represent only one accused, Russians Oleg Pulatova. Protect him two representatives of the law firm Sjocrona Van Stigt, as well as Russian lawyer Elena Kutina. Protection has announced that their client Pulatov pleads not guilty and claims he was not involved in the crash Boeing-777.
In the courtroom seats will be reserved for suspects and protection of relatives of the victims, observers and the media. Accredited for the event, over 400 journalists from different countries. But since everyone, the courtroom could not accommodate the complex to observe the process in the adjacent halls placed large screens to broadcast the meeting.
Under Dutch law, the external review case is possible, but there are a lot of nuances. For example, judges should be sure that the prosecution took enough steps to inform suspects that their relation criminal case in the Netherlands. However, it is uncertain whether to judge them all together or separately if the case is Pulatova will be allocated in separate legal proceedings given the fact that his interests are represented by lawyers, notes TASS.
The big question is what charges will be brought against the defendant. In recent times says that from-for suspicions in their responsibility for the delivery of anti-aircraft missile complex “Buk” in place of the rocket launch by the suspect will be charged to intentional or unintentional murder. However, we know it will be only in the course of the hearings.
According to various observers, the judicial process may take about five years, and perhaps longer. To what conclusion will come to judge, hard to say. In addition, after the adjudication of possible appeals from both the defense and the prosecution.
As a result meanwhile. On March 8 it became known that the Joint investigation team (SSG), composed of the representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, has extended the cooperation agreement. Therefore, the investigation of the tragedy will continue in parallel with the criminal proceedings and is not excluded that in the future charges will be brought against others.
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the start of the trial in the Netherlands and expressed hope that the perpetrators will be punished.
“Together with partners from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and the Netherlands Ukrainian experts conducted a high level collection of evidence #MH17. On March 9, will start the proceedings in court in the Hague. Believe that justice will be established, and perpetrators will be held accountable for the deaths of 298 people,” – wrote in his Twitter Zelensky.
The Russian foreign Ministry claim that the accusations of Russia’s involvement in the collapse of the Malaysian Boeing unfounded and regrettable, and the investigation is biased and one-sided. President Vladimir Putin noted that Russia does not allow for the investigation of the crash of the liner, so Moscow can not accept the results of the investigation, not taking it full participation. The Kremlin categorically denies accusations of involvement in the collapse of the Malaysian Boeing.
What to expect from the court on MH17
According to the Russian service of the BBC, now in a criminal case on the Boeing 777 of flight MH17 about 30 thousand pages. For comparison, all four volumes of the novel “War and peace” has about a thousand pages.
Conduct of the meeting will be a panel of five judges, three of them were permanent and two deputies.
It is highly unlikely that someone from the accused will appear before a Dutch court in person in the foreseeable future. But Colonel Oleg Pulatov has agreed to testify on video, and interacting with prosecutors and judges through the attorneys.
Interests Pulatova represent two Dutch lawyer in Rotterdam and the Russian lawyer Helen Kutina. While Kutina has no right to act on behalf Pulatova in the Netherlands – it can only provide colleagues with information to protect it.
Dutch lawyers will defend Pulatova, because we believe it is important to ensure the rule of law. But before you hit the ground, they interviewed all his friends and relatives to make sure not killed if any of their friends and colleagues in the tragedy of MH17. The lawyers explained that he did it to avoid conflict of interest.
Dubinsky, Kharchenko and arrows to testify refused.
After completion of the preliminary hearing judge may ask the Prosecutor and the defendants the question of whether they want to interview any witnesses.
Neither the investigators nor the prosecutors are in no hurry to disclose the materials that they have. But in an interview with U.S. television channel CBS Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said that they have witnesses willing to testify in court in favor of the position of the prosecution.
“I’d say we have at least one witness (of a missile launch on the aircraft). How many, I’m not sure,” added the Prosecutor.
The Prosecutor’s office notes that will not appeal to the Russian authorities with a request for the extradition of suspects, because he knows that the Russian law forbids the extradition of citizens to other States.
In January at a meeting with relatives of the victims in the crash, representatives of Prosecutor’s office of the Netherlands said that the trial could last a year or two, if there is no procedural delays, and if there are any difficulties, the hearing would last four to six years.