In the Netherlands, during a court hearing in the MH17 downing case, prosecutors said that four defendants, the so-called former “DPR” defense minister Igor Girkin (Strelkov), head of the “DPR” GRU general (colonel at the time of the tragedy) of the Russian GRU Sergey Dubinskiy, GRU lieutenant colonel Oleg Pulatov (all Russian citizens), and Leonid Kharchenko, a citizen of Ukraine who fought for the “DPR”, were responsible for the deaths of 298 people on board the plane.
This was reported by an Ukrinform correspondent.
Girkin, Dubinsky, Pulatov and Kharchenko were directly responsible for Buk. Their actions led to the plane crash and the deaths of 298 people. They themselves did not push the button, but they asked for, received, and applied the Buk for their military purposes, as a result of which MH17 was shot down. The defendants intended to shoot down a Ukrainian military plane, but this does not change the essence of accusations and evidence. Dutch law prohibits the downing of any aircraft. Thus, the four accused are guilty of murder. They used the Buk as a weapon in pursuit of their military goals. They are guilty regardless of whether their target was a military or a civilian plane,” he said.
He also stressed that from the very start, the inquiry had been conducted at the highest level, and all witness statements, satellite imagery, photos, and videos were carefully verified.
According to him, it was possible to identify the actors heard in intercepted communications. Some even confirmed their voice on the recording.
We compared data from phone communication with information from other sources, checked the location of communication towers. We also confiscated the equipment used for filming and memory cards to check whether any data was doctored, for example, to verify if a photo is real, “he said.
The Dutch prosecutor also stressed that Russia had provided doctored satellite imagery. The Russian Federation also failed to explain where the Buk missile launcher, Reg. No. 3X2, of the Russian army’s Kursk-based 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade, was located on July 17, 2014.
The prosecution also said that Russia had vetoed the UN Security Council’s decision to establish an international tribunal into the MH17 crash, so it was decided to hold a trial in the Netherlands as most of the victims in the crash are the country’s nationals. The aim was to identify those involved in the tragedy and prepare evidence to be presented in courts to have the perpetrators prosecuted under Dutch criminal law.
“The Netherlands is not involved in the conflict in Ukraine but it does have jurisdiction because crimes against Dutch citizens committed anywhere in the world remain punishable,” said the Dutch prosecutor.
According to him, the Russian special services are trying to prevent the revelation of the truth about the downing of MH17, so measures have been taken to protect each witness in the case.
He also stressed that after the relatives of the victims saw so much fake news on what had caused the plane crash, it’s very important for them to finally hear the truth.
“The court’s judgment should bring them (families of the victims – ed.) peace and tranquility, and also contribute to preventing such tragedies in the future… We are ready to hear the accused and ensure a fair trial,” said the Dutch prosecutor.
It should be noted that the prosecution’s statement consists of four parts. It will cover the evidence in place, data on the involvement of those accused in the plane downing, and claims of the relatives of the victims, set to complete this year’s hearings with a motion asking the court to hand down a guilty verdict.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, the latest hearing in the MH17 trial began in the Netherlands on Monday at 10:00 local time.
The prosecutors began reading out the indictment.
According to the preliminary schedule, the court hearings are to continue through December 22.
Memo. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over the occupied area of Donetsk region on July 17, 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 belonged 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.
In March 2020, the District Court of The Hague began the consideration of the case over the downing of Flight MH17.