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Suspects in MH17 plane crash to be prosecuted in Netherlands

July 05, 13:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"A process will be rooted in ongoing international cooperation and support," the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement

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© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. Those responsible for shooting down flight MH17 in Donbass in 2014 will face prosecution in the Netherlands under Dutch law, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The JIT countries [Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine] have now decided that the suspects should be prosecuted in the Netherlands, a process that will be rooted in ongoing international cooperation and support," the statement says.

A tribunal and a domestic court

A Boeing-777 passenger plane of the Malaysia Airlines en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was lost on July 17, 2014 over the Donetsk Region, in eastern Ukraine. The disaster claimed the lives of all 283 passengers and 15 crew - citizens of ten countries. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine is conducting a criminal investigation into the tragedy. The probe has not been finished yet, and no charges have been pressed.

In 2015, Russia vetoed the adoption of the UN Security Council’s resolution on the establishment of an international tribunal on the disaster. Following the statements made by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders and then-Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur in October 2016, the JIT member countries passed on to the study of the two major variants of prosecution- an international tribunal bypassing the UN and a domestic court.

A probe into the crash

Earlier, the Dutch Safety Board conducted a probe into the downing of the plane, and on September 28, 2016, the international JIT presented the preliminary findings of its own investigation. According to this data, the investigators have "irrefutable evidence" that on July 17, 2014, flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-built Buk surface-to-air missile fired from an area held by pro-Russian forces.

The JIT head admitted that the data provided by the Russian side at the time had been dismissed by the investigators.

This information was released by the Russian defense manufacturer Almaz-Antey, which produces Buk antiaircraft missile systems, in October 2015. In particular, the manufacturer published the probe findings proved by live experiments, according to which the Boeing had been shot down from the Buk antiaircraft missile systems not from the area specified by the Dutch Safety Board, but from the Zaroshchenksoye community controlled by the Ukrainian military on the day of the tragedy.

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