Quest for justice continues: MH17 six years later

#UWC news
July 17,2020 187

Over the past 6 years, the Russian Federation has harboured the criminals responsible for the killing of 298 innocent civilians on July 17, 2014, when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukrainian territory by a Russian-controlled missile system. Despite persistent efforts by the Kremlin to discredit the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) tasked with determining the cause of the disaster, the overwhelming evidence gathered confirms that culpability for this crime lies with the Russian Federation.

The JIT, with representatives from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Ukraine, and Malaysia, concluded that MH17 was downed as a result of an exploding missile fired from a Russian-controlled BUK missile system positioned in a farm field near the settlement of Pervomaiske on territory under the control of occupying Russian military forces. The JIT also confirmed that the BUK missile system used in the attack was delivered to Ukraine from the Russian Federation and following the crash was returned to Russia, both conclusions being supported by both American and European data and open-source intelligence.

Despite these findings, on the sixth anniversary of this criminal act of terrorism against innocent civilians, Russia continues to deny its responsibility for this tragedy.  Kremlin maintains a fervent disinformation campaign with the goal of sowing doubt about the validity of the JIT findings while attempting to transfer the blame to Ukraine and its authorities.

From the very start of the investigation, Russia has unashamedly promoted its version of events, including accusations that Ukraine shot down the plane, and discrediting the findings based on the JIT.  Furthermore, on July 30, 2015, Russia vetoed a draft resolution of the UN Security Council on the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators of the MH-17 flight catastrophe. 

On 9 March 2020, the District Court of The Hague began the long-awaited criminal trial of four individuals suspected of downing the flight MH17. This will be an important step in bringing the perpetrators to justice. However, the international community must also bring to justice Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his operatives for this heinous act of terrorism which they oversaw and directed.

“We are confident that the truth will be uncovered but question whether justice will be served. The top Russian political and military commanders who gave the order to shoot down M17 must face criminal responsibility and the Russian Federation must be held accountable to pay reparations to the victims’ families,” stated Paul Grod. “The Ukrainian World Congress and the global Ukrainian community stand in remembrance and solidarity with the families and friends of the victims of the MH17 disaster on the sixth anniversary of this act of terrorism as the quest for justice continues.  May the memory of the victims be eternal and such tragedy never happen again.”