MH17: Six Years On, Where Do We Stand?

July 16, 2020
July 17th marks the sixth anniversary of the tragic day when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine’s war-torn Donbas, taking the lives of 298 innocent people.
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Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Six years on, where do we stand in bringing those responsible to justice? Let’s recall the timeline of major events in the case so far:

  • July 17, 2014: Flight MH17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is shot down by a missile launched from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east. Everybody aboard is killed, and Russia denies responsibility.
  • May 24, 2018: The Joint Investigation Team, comprising authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine, conclusively establishes that MH17 was shot down from territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists with a Russian BUK surface-to-air missile.
  • June 19, 2019: the JIT’s investigation results in the announcement of charges against three Russian officers and one Ukrainian national fighting for the pro-Russian separatists. The four are accused of bringing the missile from Russia to Ukraine’s non-government controlled territory in eastern Ukraine and using it to murder the 298 people aboard MH17.
  • March 9, 2020: court proceedings in the case are opened in the Netherlands. The trial is suspended due to quarantine measures shortly thereafter, but the hearings resume on June 8. The suspects are being tried in absentia, as Russia refuses to extradite them.
  • July 10, 2020: the Dutch government filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights against Russia for a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in the case. According to the Dutch authorities, this move is in response to Russia’ reluctance to cooperate with the investigation as much as it is in response to Russia’s involvement in the tragedy in the first place.
MAKSYM PANCHENKO
Journalist and analyst at UkraineWorld and Internews Ukraine

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