Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, Ukraine, Holland to sign MH17 document

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Foreign Ministers of the countries whose investigative authorities together make up the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) – Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands – will sign a document on the case of Boeing 777 flight MH17 in New York next week.

Ukrainian ambassador to Malaysia Olexander Nechytaylo said the signing of the document, which defines detailed steps and actions for all participating countries, will be held on the sidelines of 72nd UN General Assembly.

“The countries remain fully committed to taking effective measures and to investigate. Ukraine with JIT team is still working very closely and this document will specify in depth, which is one of many channels that we’re working on currently,” Nechytaylo told Bernama in an interview at the news agency’s headquarters recently.

The Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 on board.

International investigators have said the flight was shot down by a Russia-supplied missile system that was fired from territory held by Russian-backed fighters.

The probe, led by the Netherlands, which suffered the majority of losses, was focusing on some 100 people suspected of having played an "active role" in the incident, but the investigators have not publicly named any suspects to date.

Elaborating further on the document, Nechytaylo said it follows another Ukraine’s effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice in which a lawsuit against Russia was filed early this year.

In the case filed on Jan 16 that include the downing of MH17 as part of the proceedings instituted by Ukraine in the International Court of Justice, he added it was to hold Russia accountable for acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of unlawful aggression against Ukraine.

"This indeed is a long, ongoing process and definitely will take time. The challenges we’re facing now is that we have to collect hard evidence that will be admissible to present in the court.

"To get the convictions is not easy, what more given the territory where the most debris discovered is not under Ukrainian government control,” said Nechytaylo.

He also said that Ukraine and the Netherlands will soon sign a memorandum on the exchange of information relating to the crash which would further help his country in its lawsuit against Russia.

As reported by the Ukrainian News Agency recently, the information exchange envisages that prosecution of suspects will be for all 298 people killed in the crash, that would give all relatives equal rights in the Dutch process.

In July, Dutch officials announced that the trial of suspects arrested over the incident will be held in the Netherlands, a collective decision of the countries involved.

Malaysia through Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai welcomed the decision, saying a national prosecution in the Netherlands will ensure “accountability in compliance with the highest international standards.”

The UN General Assembly convened its 72nd session on Tuesday, with an emphasis on striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.

- Bernama



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