Malaysia made full member of MH17 criminal probe team, AG confirms

The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. — Reuters pic
The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — Malaysia has been accepted as a full member of the joint investigation team for MH17, which is tasked to look into the criminal elements involved in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft earlier this year.

According to Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail in a media statement here, the notification of Malaysia’s acceptance into the team as conveyed by the Dutch National Public Prosecutor’s Office through a letter dated November 28.

The letter was received today, the AG said.

The original members of the team are the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine.

Following Malaysia’s entry into the team, the AG will be leaving for The Hague on Wednesday to attend the 3rd Eurojust Coordination Meeting on the criminal investigation, which is scheduled on 4 December 2014.

Abdul Gani will be joined by Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

Flight MH17 was blasted out of the sky while it was flying over a conflict-ridden zone in Ukraine’s airspace on July 17, taking the lives of all 298 aboard.

The plane, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed into an area controlled by pro-Russia rebels.

The investigation team led by the Dutch, whose citizens made up the bulk of the plane, has so far identified 289 of those aboard and are working on efforts to transport the wreckage back to the Netherlands for further investigation.

According to an AFP report last week, however, nine victims still remain unidentified as work at the crash site had to be shut down for the winter.