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Dutch prosecutor turns deaf ear to US experts in MH17 disaster case

According to Manon Ridderbeks, "the public prosecution service has no use for it at all"

SCHIPHOL /The Netherlands/, May 16. /TASS/. The Dutch prosecutor’s office has refused to take into account US experts’ conclusions prepared for the defense in the July 2014 flight MH17 disaster case, Prosecutor Manon Ridderbeks said during hearings on Monday.

"The public prosecution service has no use for it at all," she said.

Earlier, the defense of Oleg Pulatov, one of the accused in the case, presented to court a report by a group of US experts who had scrutinized all available evidence to arrive at the conclusion that Almaz-Antey’s calculations regarding the site from where the missile that hit the passenger plane had been launched agreed best with the nature of damage the examination of the plane’s debris identified.

Ridderbeks said the defense was free to point to discrepancies in different parts of the criminal case, but "the picture is crystal clear."

"Pulatov, Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko are jointly responsible," she said.

About the trial

A passenger Boeing-777 of Malaysia Airlines (flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur) was shot down on June 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s Donetsk Region. The crash killed 298 people: citizens of ten countries. The Joint Investigation Team in June 2019 said it had identified a group of four suspects - the former chief of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s militia, Igor Girkin (Strelkov), and his subordinates Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko. Their trial began on March 9, 2020. They are accused of delivering an air defense missile launcher Buk to Ukraine from Russia.

The accused are being tried in absentia. Pulatov is represented by two Dutch lawyers. The prosecution has demanded life imprisonment for all. Pulatov’s lawyers demand their client’s acquittal. A verdict in the case is expected in November or December. Russian officials have repeatedly expressed distrust towards the investigation team. They stressed that the prosecution presented groundless arguments and was reluctant to take Moscow’s counterarguments into account.

Earlier, experts at Russia’s concern Almaz-Antey, the Netherlands Aerospace Center and Belgium’s Royal Military Academy presented their conclusions as to the place from where the missile had been launched. Both Dutch and Belgian experts argue that the passenger Boeing was downed by a missile fired from the area of the community of Pervomaiskoye, at the moment controlled by the Donetsk militia. Almaz-Antey calculations indicate that the missile must have been fired from a territory near the village of Zaroshchenskoye, controlled by the Ukrainian army.