Victims’ households need judges to make clear Russian position in MH17 downing By Reuters

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By Stephanie van den Berg

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Family members of the 298 individuals who died when Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014 hope that judges issuing a verdict in a Dutch homicide trial on Thursday will spotlight what they see as Russia’s overarching position within the incident.

Prosecutors have demanded life sentences for 3 Russians and one Ukrainian accused of suppling the missile system that Russian-backed separatists used to fireplace a rocket on the Malaysia Airways passenger jet touring from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Moscow has denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly dismissed the findings of investigators that the missile launcher used within the assault got here from a Russian army base in Kursk and that Russia was backing rebels in Ukraine preventing authorities forces.

The decision has gained higher significance since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which has seen the Netherlands provide weapons to Kyiv, additional straining already tough diplomatic relations.

It could possibly be the primary time a court docket guidelines on Russia’s position in preventing in Ukraine since its invasion of Crimea in 2014. If it does implicate Russia, that would affect different circumstances, together with one within the United Nation’s high court docket, the Worldwide Court docket of Justice, a authorized professional stated.

Kyiv launched a case accusing Moscow of financing terrorism in 2017 over its alleged assist for separatist teams in Ukraine.

Not one of the 4 suspects, who prosecutors say organized for the missile launcher to be transported to japanese Ukraine, are in custody and just one is collaborating within the proceedings.

“It might probably’t be so {that a} state who facilitates mass homicide can get away with it, so the position of the Russian state is essential to us,” Piet Ploeg, spokesperson for the kinfolk, stated forward of the ruling.

Ukraine has claimed in authorized circumstances towards Russia in European courts and on the ICJ that Moscow managed separatists within the Donbas area the place MH17 was shot down.

Prosecutors have stated they are going to are nonetheless investigating the position of extra senior officers and have recognized at the very least one different particular person of curiosity.

A variety of these circumstances additionally embrace allegations linked to the Russian invasion on Ukraine in February of this yr, which Moscow refers to as a “particular army operation”.

“These would be the first judges, not directly within the legal trial, that may pronounce authorized rulings on that declare by Ukraine (…) it can have so many repercussions,” Marieke de Hoon, assistant professor of worldwide legal legislation and the College of Amsterdam , who carefully adopted the MH17 trial stated.

The Dutch MH17 homicide trial began in March 2020. One suspect, Oleg Pulatov, has despatched legal professionals to signify him. The others, Russians Sergey Dubinsky and Igor Girkin and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, have by no means cooperated with the court docket and are being tried in absentia.

Judges will begin announcing their verdict Thursday at 1:30 p.m. native time (1230 GMT) on the high-security court docket subsequent to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

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