MH17 trial: Hearing on the merits to start in February 2021
The last court hearing in the MH17 trial in 2020 has ended at the Schiphol Judicial Complex in the Netherlands. The hearing on the merits against the four defendants will start on February 1, 2021, an Ukrinform correspondent in The Hague reports.
Today, the Court announced its decision on requests from the defence of one of the four suspects, Oleg Pulatov. Pulatov’s lawyers demanded that experts and witnesses in the MH17 trial be questioned again and that all evidence be examined. The Court rejected most motions filed by the defence, in particular, those relating to the study of alternative versions of the tragedy. However, the Court granted the motion for questioning several experts and witnesses who could testify about Buk missile launcher and whether Pulatov was involved in its transportation. The Court also allowed the lawyers of the victims’ relatives to have access to a digital version of all case files.
The preliminary schedule of hearings for 2021 has already been published on the Court’s website.
In March 2020, the District Court of The Hague began the consideration of the case of the downing of flight MH17 in the sky over Donbas.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over conflict-hit Donbas in July 2014. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. All of them died. The international Joint Investigation Team reported that the plane had been shot down from a Buk missile system that belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.
On June 19, 2019, the JIT named four suspects believed to be involved in the transportation and combat use of the Buk missile system, from which MH17 flight had been downed. Three of them are Russians: Igor Girkin (Strelkov), former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence service and former so-called defense minister of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”; Sergey Dubinskiy, general (at the time of downing – colonel) of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and head of the so-called “Main Intelligence Directorate of the Donetsk People’s Republic”; Oleg Pulatov, lieutenant colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The fourth suspect is Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian civilian, who fought on the side of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”