Netherlands takes Russia to European rights court over MH17 downing

A part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane is seen after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 18, 2014. — Reuters pic
A part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane is seen after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

THE HAGUE, July 10 — The Netherlands said today it would take Russia to the European Court of Human Rights for its role in bringing down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.

The relatives of at least 65 Dutch victims in 2018 filed a complaint at the Strasbourg-based court, demanding that Russia take responsibility for incident, which killed everyone on board.

Both the Netherlands and Australia have said they hold Russia responsible for shooting down the plane, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.

“Achieving justice for the 298 victims of the downing of flight MH17 is and will remain the government’s highest priority,” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a statement.

“By taking this step today, bringing a case before the ECHR and thus supporting the applications by the next of kin as much as we can, we are moving closer to this goal.”

The Netherlands would share all “available and relevant information about the downing of flight MH17” with the court, Blok said.

The latest move adds to legal pressure on Moscow after the Dutch criminal trial of four suspects opened just outside Schiphol airport from where the ill-fated flight took off.

Prosecutors have charged four people — Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko — with murder.

They said the men were responsible for bringing a BUK surface-to-air missile into an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Moscow rebels, from where it was fired at the passenger jet.

Russia has denied involvement and has proposed alternative theories including that MH17 may have been downed by a Ukrainian fighter plane or a Ukrainian BUK missile. — AFP

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