Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: One Year Later, Victims’ Families Demand Justice

Reuters/Olivia Harris
Reuters/Olivia Harris

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed into eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard. A memorial service took place in Kuala Lumpur, the final destination of the tragic flight, this week, observing the one-year anniversary.

“We want to find out who shot down the plane,” cried Ivy Loi, wife of Captain Eugene Choo. “We must find out. We’re just trying to cope.”

The family members gathered at the end of Ramadan, which is usually when everyone celebrates Eid al-Fitr.

“For Ramadan, we’re sad because we’re so used to having all the family members around during this period, but now it’s not the same,” sighed Madzalina Ghazalee, who lost her sister on the flight.

To make matters worse, no one knows exactly what happened or who directly shot down the plane.

“It’s Ramadan and we feel the sadness,” exclaimed Shahadat Bey, who lost an aunt. “Everyone is just pointing fingers, but it’s very important that we get some closure and justice because everybody needs to know what happened.”

When the plane went down, Ukraine pointed fingers at Russia while the pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine blamed Ukrainian officials. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak promised the other day the countries involved will name the guilty party soon.

“We call on all nations concerned to provide the fullest cooperation, so that we will be able to gather irrefutable evidence as to what happened and especially as to who were responsible for this unforgivable incident,” he announced.

Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, and the Netherlands, who all lost innocent citizens with no connection to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, worked with officials in Kiev to gather as much information as possible about the tragedy. The countries also want a United Nations international tribunal to guarantee an independent trial for those responsible for the shooting. Russia immediately opposed the suggestion.

“Russia is opposed to the idea of setting up the tribunal because the inquiry into this incident is not over yet,” claimed Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.