Advertisement
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

MH17 Jet Downing Case: Trial Moves To Crucial Merits Phase, Dutch Court To Examine Evidence

As many as 298 people died when the Boeing 777 was shot down on July 17, 2014.

MH17 Jet Downing Case: Trial Moves To Crucial Merits Phase, Dutch Court To Examine Evidence
Representational Image | AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File
MH17 Jet Downing Case: Trial Moves To Crucial Merits Phase, Dutch Court To Examine Evidence
outlookindia.com
2021-06-07T21:22:39+05:30

Nearly seven years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, the trial in a Dutch court of three Russians and a Ukrainian accused of involvement in the downing moved Monday to the crucial merits phase, when evidence will be discussed by lawyers and judges.

Families of some of the victims were present in court to watch the latest hearing in the long-running case.

“It's a very difficult day for us. You know, it's now the first day of the prosecution,” said Evert van Zijtveld, whose daughter Frederique and son Robert-Jan were among the 298 passengers and crew killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down on July 17, 2014.

The trial that has progressed through a series of preliminary hearings since opening in March 2020 will in the coming days begin examining the huge case file pieced together after a years-long international investigation.

“The file consists of about 65,000 pages and many hundreds of hours of visual and audio material. It's such a large case that it's simply not possible to speak about every detail," Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said at the start of Monday's hearing, before summarizing the case.

“Up until today, no one has come forward and said that they are even partially responsible for what happened," Steenhuis said.

The first discussions of evidence are scheduled for Tuesday.

The four suspects were not in the courtroom near Schiphol Airport and are being tried in their absence. They face life sentences if convicted of murdering the 298 people who died when the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was blown out of the sky above conflict-torn eastern Ukraine.

The international investigation concluded that the plane was destroyed by a Buk missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Russia separatist rebels.

The investigation said that the missile was brought into Ukraine on a mobile launcher from a military base in Russia. Russia has denied any involvement.

The three Russians charged with involvement in the downing are Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. Only Pulatov is being represented by defense lawyers, who have told the court he is innocent.

Steenhuis warned relatives that the coming days could be tough as he outlines evidence about the deaths of their loved ones.

“Unpleasant findings may be discussed," he said before telling people in the courtroom: "Should this become too much for you, you are at liberty to leave the room at any point in time.”

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement