11 Jul 2020

Dutch government to file suit against Russia over downing of MH17

7:30 am on 11 July 2020

The Dutch government on Friday said it would file a suit against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights over the downing of Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine six years ago.

A file photo taken on 9 September 2014 shows part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove, some 80km east of Donetsk.

Two-thirds of the 298 victims were Dutch. (File photo). Photo: AFP

The Netherlands, home to roughly two-thirds of the 298 victims, holds Russia responsible for the crash on 17 July 2014. The Kremlin has consistently denied involvement in the matter.

"The submission is a new step in our efforts to establish truth, justice and accountability", Dutch Foreign minister Stef Blok said in a letter to Parliament.

Blok said his government would give the court all its information on MH17, thereby supporting the individual applications already submitted by the victims' next of kin.

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Moscow rebels during fighting in eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board.

After years of collecting evidence, a Dutch-led international Joint Investigation Team (JIT) last year said the missile launcher used to hit the jet came from a Russian army base just across the border.

The JIT subsequently issued arrest warrants for four suspects, who were put on trial in the Netherlands in absentia earlier this year.

The four suspects, three Russian men and one Ukrainian, are said to have arranged the missile system. They remain at large and are believed to be in Russia.

Despite the new court case, the Dutch government said it wanted to continue the talks with Russia on MH17 that it started together with Australia over a year ago.

- Reuters

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