On Tuesday, the Dutch judges presiding over the high profile murder trial of 298 people ruled there was evidence which confirms that back in 2014 a Malaysian airliner was shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile. The incident happened over territory in eastern Ukraine held by rebels.
A panel of judges
Because flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam in the Dutch Netherlands on its way to Kuala Lumpur, the high-profile murder trial is happening in Holland.
Four “fugitive suspects” three Russians and a Ukrainian, are being tried, even though they aren’t in custody, for “shooting down the plane on July 17 2014 and killing all 298 people on board.” On Tuesday, the panel of judges started reading off the evidence.
Russian rebels fighting Ukrainian forces used a Russian surface-to-air missile which left flight MH17 crashed in a field.
“Experts have stated that the impact on the hull [of the plane] is compatible with a Buk missile system and a Buk warhead. No damage was found that would not be compatible with that scenario, or that would indicate another scenario,” the judges insist.
The years of evidence gathering produced enough for an international team of investigators to conclude that “the missile launcher used to shoot down the aircraft belonged to Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade.”
That’s enough for Dutch judges to hold Moscow responsible. Putin says the charges are ridiculous. So a rogue rebel unit got careless, that’s not the Kremlin’s fault, he dismisses. Iran says the same thing about Hezbollah.
A trial without defendants
Even though four individuals are being charged with the murder of all those people, they’re still at large.
Things like that don’t seem to bother Europeans much. They hold the trial in “absentia” and the guilty better be sure they’re never found.
For a year now, one procedural hearing after another ground their way through the mill of the Dutch courts. The judges finally got to the interesting part. Evidence.
For the entire week, judges will get to put all the reports and photographs under the microscope to “specifically look to determine what type of missile hit the airplane, where it was fired from and whether the four suspects can be held responsible.”
Observers of the proceedings are convinced that the judges believe what they’re being told. The entire first day of testimony was devoted to “was it a Buk missile or not?”
According to Hans de Borst, who’s daughter was killed in the crash, it’s a no-brainer. “I think the question is already answered but the court is now really answering it, so it’s important.”