The Netherlands Is Taking Russia To Court Over MH17 Crash

The Netherlands is reportedly gearing up to file a suit against Russia. The lawsuit would be submitted to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the shooting down of MH17 in July 2014. The flight was being operated by a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 occupants onboard.

MH17, Russia, Court Case
Six years since MH17 was downed, the Dutch Government is taking Russia to court. Photo: Getty Images

Next Friday will mark six years to the day since Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down while flying over Ukraine. The Dutch Safety Board issued its final report on the crash back in October 2015. While the Dutch prosecution service has charged four people with murder in connection with the crash, however, none were in attendance when the criminal case opened in a Dutch court earlier this year.

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Taking Russia to the European Court of Human Rights

According to Reuters, there has today been a development in the MH17 story. The publication reports that the Dutch government will be taking Russia to the Strasbourg Court.

In a statement issued on the Dutch government’s website, Stef Blok, the Dutch foreign minister said,

“Achieving justice for 298 victims of the downing of Flight MH17 is and will remain the government’s highest priority,”

MH17, Russia, Court Case
The Dutch foreign minister, Stef Blok, announced the suit today. Photo: Government of the Netherlands

A look back at the incident

So, what happened to MH17? The crash occurred on July 17th, 2014. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 777 registered as 9M-MRD, was due to fly from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. There were 298 occupants on the aircraft, 283 passengers and 15 members of crew. Sadly everybody perished in the crash.

Flight MH17 departed from Schiphol at 12:13 local time. The flight was fairly uneventful until around three hours into the trip. At 16:20 local time, the flight was passing overhead Ukraine at 33,000 feet, preparing to cross into Russian airspace.

At 16:20, a ground-to-air missile was launched near to the aircraft. The weapon exploded just outside the plane. Shrapnel from the rocket caused an explosive decompression. The aircraft separated into three main parts and fell mainly into fields near the Ukrainian village of Hrabove.

MH17, Russia, Court Case
The aircraft (not pictured) was shot down over Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

Later findings

In May 2018, the investigative team representing several nations announced that the missile launcher that downed MH17 came from Russia. The next day, the Dutch government issued a statement stating that the country was responsible for the downing of the flight.

At the time, Mr. Blok said,

“On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are now convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17. The government is now taking the next step by formally holding Russia accountable.”

In March of this year, a murder trial for the four individuals charged with the downing commenced in the Netherlands. However, this was suspended later that month to give the defense more time to prepare for the case. The case resumed on June 8th.

What do you make of this latest legal action? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!