A Dutch judge will deliver a verdict on Thursday in the trial of four men accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, amid mounting tensions over Russia’s current aggression. It is planned.
A Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was hit in separatist-held eastern Ukraine by what prosecutors said was an attack by a Moscow-supplied missile, killing all 298 passengers and crew.
Russians Igor Gherkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Platov and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko face life in prison if convicted of murder and plane crash.
But all four suspects are fugitives and have refused to attend the two-and-a-half-year trial in the Netherlands.
Eight years after the catastrophe, the area where Flight MH17 crashed became one of the key battlefields in Russia’s nearly nine-month war with Ukraine.
Families from all over the world will travel to the High Security Court near Schiphol Airport to hear the verdict of a panel of three judges from 12:30 GMT on Thursday.
“If they are guilty, the international community should hunt them down,” Ebert van Zytfeldt, who lost his 19-year-old daughter Frederik, 18-year-old son Robert Yang and his parents-in-law, told AFP. Told.
“I cannot forgive them.”
– “A toy is lying around” –
The crash of Flight MH17 sparked global outrage, leaving Ukraine’s famous sunflower fields littered with corpses and debris. Some victims, including children, were still strapped to their seats.
Prosecutors said the suspect was a member of the Kremlin-backed separatist forces and played a key role in bringing the BUK missile system to Ukraine from a Russian military base.
Defense attorneys for Platov, the only suspect with legal representation, argue the trial was unfair.
They said prosecutors were unable to prove that a BUK missile shot down the jetliner, and also raised “alternative scenarios” such as a Ukrainian jet shooting it down.
Moscow has denied any involvement.
During the trial, prosecutors allegedly relied heavily on intercepted call and cell phone data to place suspects near launch sites or at decision-making centers.
They also used eyewitness testimony, including a former separatist who described “children’s toys lying around” at the crash site, as well as video and photographic evidence of the missile’s movement.
Forensic material, including debris found on the victim’s remains, was cited to prove it was a BUK missile.
– Hope to capture –
Prosecutors say Girkin — a former Russian spy and historical reenactment fan who became the so-called defense minister of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic — helped supply the missile system.
Gherkin recently criticized the Russian military for its handling of the war and reportedly volunteered to fight in Ukraine.
Dubinsky, who also has ties to Russian intelligence, served as the Separatist head of military intelligence and was allegedly responsible for issuing orders on missiles.
Platov, a former Russian special forces soldier, and Kharchenko, who allegedly led the separatist forces, were subordinates who had a more direct role in getting the missiles to the launch site, prosecutors said. Stated.
The BUK missile was identified by imagery and social media evidence as being from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk, Russia, the court heard.
The defendants arranged for the missiles to be brought in to counter the Ukrainian Air Force, prosecutors said, arguing that under Dutch law “it makes no difference” whether they accidentally targeted a civilian aircraft.
The trial took place in Holland because 196 victims were Dutch.
https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/dutch-court-to-deliver-long-awaited-mh17-verdict-398425/ Dutch court issues long-awaited MH17 verdict