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MH17 crash hearings to resume on February 1, 2021

Most defense requests were rejected, however, some of them were granted

THE HAGUE, November 25. /TASS/. The case hearings of the MH17 Boeing crash in Ukraine are suspended until February 1, 2021, presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis delivered the ruling Wednesday.

"The [defendant Oleg] Pulatov hearing is therefore adjourned until 10 am on the first of February, 2021," he said.

Ahead of this announcement, Steenhuis delivered the court rulings on the Pulatov defense team’s requests to carry put additional investigations submitted between November 3 and 5. The defense asked the court to organize a number of expert reviews and question several specialists and witnesses who can rebuke the main scenario of the tragedy which states that the Boeing was downed by Donbass militia fighters’ Buk missile system from a field near the village of Pervomaysky. The prosecution, in turn, said that these requests must be dismissed except for one, questioning of Sergei Dubinsky who is also named as the case defendant.

Most defense requests were rejected, however, some of them were granted.

"It is clear that the defense made a large number of investigation requests for approval by the court. Many requests have been repeated, have been remade under different headings, different topics and different motivations," he said. "The court has, of course, fully considered all outstanding requests. However, it is not impossible that exceptionally a request or wish may have been overlooked and, therefore, not decided on. In these cases, the court is deemed to have rejected such a request because it is insufficiently substantiated or irrelevant or because the court takes the view in the light of the other requests it is deemed of insufficient value and, therefore, rejected."

The other three defendants’ cases have been adjourned until February 1, 2021 during the hearings on November 13, considering the fact that they are being tried in absentia and no one is representing their interests in court.

MH17 crash

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, conducting flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17, 2014, in Donetsk Region of Ukraine, killing 298 people from 10 states. A Joint Investigative Team (JIT) was created to investigate the crash, including representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. In June 2019, experts claimed that they have identified a group of four people, suspected of involvement in the tragedy. It includes former Donetsk People’s Republic militia leader Igor Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov; and his subordinates: Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko. According to the investigation, the former three are Russian nationals, and the latter is a Ukrainian national. The court hearings against the four men began on March 9. Pulatov is the only one represented by a group of lawyers, while the remaining three are tried in absentia. The four are accused of delivering a Buk air defense system from Russia to Ukraine.

Russian officials have repeatedly doubted the JIT findings, pointing out baselessness of the plaintiffs’ arguments and unwillingness to use conclusions of the Russian side during the investigation.