All news

Dutch prosecution not to appeal MH17 case verdict – statement

Also, the prosecutor's office does not intend to request the extradition of those convicted in this case from Russia

THE HAGUE, December 2. /TASS/. The Dutch prosecution will not file an appeal for the court ruling in the MH17 Boeing crash case, the Prosecutor's Office said in a statement, published on its website Thursday.

"The Public Prosecution Service (OM) has not appealed in the MH17 criminal case. The Public Prosecution Service is very pleased that the verdict has clarified the relatives' actual circumstances surrounding the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The Public Prosecution Service also notes that the court largely followed the public prosecutors, both on the points of the evidence of the offenses charged as the punishment to be imposed," the statement reads.

The prosecution also noted that "an appeal would be a great burden for the next of kin, because they would then remain in uncertainty about the outcome of the criminal case.

The sides could appeal the ruling for 14 days since the verdict was announced. The convicts - Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko did not do anything, therefore the prosecution believes that all rulings on the case are final. The fourth defendant, Oleg Pulatov, was exonerated.

The prosecution noted that it will not request extradition of the defendants from Russia.

"The Russian Federation does not extradite any nationals. Therefore, extradition of the convicted will not be requested. Continued efforts will be made to ensure that convicts Girkin, Dubinskiy and Kharchenko will serve their sentences. The Public Prosecution Service is of the opinion that no convict should be allowed to escape punishment," the statement reads.

The case

Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing-777 (passenger flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur) was shot down on July 17, 2014 over the Donetsk Region of Ukraine, killing 298 people — citizens of ten countries. The Joint Investigation Team announced in June 2019 that it had established a list of four suspected accomplices. They are the former head 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. All of them were accused of delivering a Buk anti-aircraft system to Ukraine from Russia. The prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for all.

The court pronounced its sentence on the case on November 17. Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment. The fourth defendant, Oleg Pulatov, represented by two Dutch lawyers, was acquitted.

Russian officials have repeatedly expressed distrust towards the investigation team, pointing to the groundlessness of the prosecution’s arguments and reluctance to take into account Moscow’s arguments in the course of the investigation. Commenting on the sentence, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the Dutch court had disregarded the principles of impartial justice in favor of the current political situation, thus inflicting a serious reputational blow on the entire Dutch judicial system.