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Dutch authorities reject proposal on holding MH17 trial in Russia

Reconstructed wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17  AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Reconstructed wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

THE HAGUE, February 13. /TASS/. The Dutch authorities have rejected Moscow’s proposal that the trial of suspects in MH17 crash in Ukraine in July 2014 should be held in Russia, according to a letter to the national parliament by Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus published on Thursday.

In October 2019, Russia’s authorities put forward a proposal on holding the trial of three suspects in the case in Russia. "The Netherlands has not considered this offer," the minister said, noting that the trial on this case in Russia was not an option.

In its turn, the Netherlands sent a request to Russia’s authorities asking them to consider the possibility of implementing the Dutch court’s ruling in Russia and enforce a sentence in case of a guilty verdict.

The Boeing-777 passenger plane operated by Malaysian Airlines crashed on July 17, 2014, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in the east of the Donetsk Region. As a result, 298 people, citizens of 10 states, were killed in the crash. The parties to the armed conflict in Donbass accused each other of being complicit in the tragedy.

Despite active combat actions, Kiev did not close airspace over Donbass for international passenger flights. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was set up to investigate the tragedy, consisting of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

In June 2019, the JIT said it had identified four individuals suspected of being involved in the MH17 crash. They are three Russian nationals Igor Girkin, also known under the nickname of Strelkov, Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and a Ukrainian national, Leonid Kharchenko. The trial is scheduled to begin in the Netherlands on March 9. Russia’s authorities have repeatedly voiced doubt over the JIT’s findings, pointing to the lack of evidence and its reluctance to take into account Moscow’s conclusions made during the investigation.