MH17 plane crash: Netherlands announces plans to prosecute suspects in Dutch court

Decision follows attempts, blocked by Russia in 2015, to set up an international court

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 05 July 2017 10:13
MH17 report: Missile fired from Russia-backed rebel area

Suspects in the shooting down of the MH17 passenger jet will be prosecuted in a Dutch court, the country’s foreign ministry has announced.

The ministry said international cooperation would continue during the prosecutions.

Nearly 300 people died when MH17 was downed in 2014.

Foreign minister Bert Koenders said that the decision had been made by the countries jointly investigating the crash – Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands.

The decision follows attempts, blocked by Russia in 2015, to set up an international court over the incident, which killed all 298 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight. Victims came from 17 countries, and included 196 Dutch.

The Dutch Safety Board, which investigated the incident, concluded in 2015 that the plane was downed by a Russian-made rocket. Investigators said last September that the rocket was fired from territory held by pro-Russia separatists.

No suspects have been named.

A report by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said there was “no doubt” the missile that downed the plane was brought in from Russia and fired from rebel-controlled territory as militants sought to fend off attacks by the Ukrainian air force during the war in the region.

Investigators pinpointed the launch site atop a hill in farmland west of Pervomaiskyi, having traced the convoy carrying the Buk from the Russian border through Donetsk, Torez, Snizhne and on to the launch site in the hours before MH17 was downed.

Additional reporting by agencies

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