MH17: Suspects behind downing of flight to be prosecuted in the Netherlands

Investigators concluded in 2015 that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile fired by pro-Russia separatists.

Flight MH17 downed by Russian missile, prosecutors sayReuters

The suspects who allegedly shot down Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight in 2014 will be prosecuted under Dutch law in a court in the Netherlands.

The Dutch foreign ministry announced on Wednesday (5 July) that it will pursue the prosecutions after Russia used its veto in the UN Security Council to block plans to set up an international court over the 2015 incident.

A total of 298 people lost their lives when a missile struck their plane en route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, over eastern Ukraine three years ago. The victims came from 17 countries and 196 of those who died were Dutch.

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Investigators concluded in 2015 that the MH17 plane was downed by a Russian-made Buk missile fired from territory occupied by pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine. They said it was unclear whether the separatists were acting on Russian orders or had taken the decision to fire the missile independently.

Russia described the investigation as "biased and politically motivated" and rejected the "dreamt up" findings.

No suspects have yet been named.

The four countries in the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, unanimously agreed this week that the prosecution should take place in the Netherlands. Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said the Netherlands would continue to work with the other countries during the "prosecution phase" and that the trial would cover all of the victims.

"In this way, the JIT countries are jointly heeding the UN Security Council's call to hold those responsible for this incident to account," Koenders said in a statement. "We have every confidence that we can continue to count on broad international support. And I will continue to do my utmost to ensure that this remains the case."

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