Australia Will Continue Investigation into MH17 Crash

Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Graham Denholm/Getty Images

The Australian government vowed to continue a push to prosecute whoever shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

“We are absolutely determined to provide answers to those families,” declared Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. “The five nations – the Netherlands, Malaysia, Belgium, Australia, and the Ukraine – are determined to continue to find an alternative mechanism. We will be meeting again shortly and we will come up with a way that will hold the perpetrators of this atrocity to account.”

The flight crashed into a sunflower field on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board, including 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysians, and 27 Australians. Intelligence from America and Germany say the pro-Russians in east Ukraine shot down the plane with a Buk surface-to-air-missile.

The five countries in charge of the investigation wanted to form a United Nations tribunal to prosecute those responsible. However, Russia vetoed the United Nations Security Council move, while China, Angola, and Venezuela abstained from voting. On the 15-member council, the “resolution needs nine votes in favor to pass and no veto by Russia, the United States, China, Britain, or France.”

Dutch investigators believe a Russian Buk system shot down the plane. They also think Russians moved the system to Ukraine “shortly before the incident.” Investigators hope to list their suspects by the end of 2015, but sources in the Netherlands believe “the chance of a successful prosecution is considered slim at best.” From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:

A trial in Ukraine itself appears a nonstarter, since the pro-Russian rebels are as unlikely to attend as the Russian government, which influences them but strenuously denies involvement in the incident or the rebellion.

The hope is that by pushing for a UN-backed court, countries representing the victims could pressure Russia into cooperating. The Kremlin recently declined to comment on the tribunal proposal.

The Ukrainian government believes Russia’s veto is proof they shot down the plane.

“The Russian veto is convincing proof of the Russian terrorists’ guilt and of a direct link between the Kremlin and the murder of innocent people,” stated Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk.

Russia claims their investigators were “denied equal access to the crash site.” But, like Yatseniuk, Bishop thinks the veto showcased Moscow’s guilt.

Bishop asked:

Surely, if Russia had evidence as to what happened, that was able to point the finger in another direction, why wouldn’t Russia want that to be heard before an independent, impartial tribunal that had the backing of the international community through the UN Security Council?

“So I think that Russia just raised more questions than it answered,” she added.


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