Three convicted of homicide for 2014 downing of passenger jet over Ukraine

A Dutch court docket on Thursday convicted two Russians and one pro-Moscow Ukrainian separatist of homicide for the lethal 2014 downing of Malaysian Airways Flight 17 over jap Ukraine, sentencing all three to life in jail.  

The court docket discovered that “solely the very best acceptable jail sentence can be acceptable” for former Russian intelligence brokers Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy, and Ukrainian separatist Leonid Kharchenko for the murders of 298 individuals onboard who died within the downing of Flight MH17. 

The downing of the Boeing 777 — which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was introduced down by a Russian Buk missile on July 17, 2014 — brought about such “devastating penalties” that “a restricted interval of imprisonment won’t suffice,” a press launch from the Hague District Court docket acknowledged. 

Although the three defendants didn’t fireplace the missile on the aircraft, they have been discovered to have helped transfer the weapon from Russia into Ukraine. 

Not one of the three attended or took half within the trial in a courtroom on the Schiphol Judicial Complicated in Badhoevedorp, the Netherlands and have been tried in absentia. They’re believed to be in Russia and extradition is unlikely.

A fourth suspect, Russian Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted. 

The aircraft’s downing, which killed 15 crew members and 283 passengers from 17 international locations, occurred over territory held by pro-Russian rebels in jap Ukraine early within the battle between pro-Moscow separatists and Ukrainian forces. 

The incident drew worldwide condemnation and the world watched in horror as photographs emerged of smoldering aircraft wreckage and our bodies and baggage strewn throughout fields.  

“Solely probably the most extreme punishment is becoming to retaliate for what the suspects have achieved, which has brought about a lot struggling to so many victims and so many surviving kin,” Presiding Choose Hendrik Steenhuis learn in a abstract of the ruling, Reuters reported. 

The sentencing marks the tip of a trial that lasted greater than two years and was attended by a whole bunch of relations of these killed within the downing, in line with The Related Press. 

Though there wasn’t sufficient proof to find out who launched the Buk missile, the court docket discovered that it had been fired from a area close to the village of Pervomaiskyi, an space Moscow had management over in 2014. 

It was additionally discovered that those that fired the missile seemingly mistook the passenger jet for a army plane, however “such an error didn’t change the intent,” Steenhuis mentioned, in line with the AP. 

The Hague District Court docket additionally awarded the households of MH17 victims damages exceeding $16.5 million  

After the court docket’s verdict and sentencing, NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg mentioned the second was “an necessary day for justice and accountability.” 

“There might be no impunity for such crimes. My ideas are with the households and family members of the 298 harmless victims,” Stoltenberg tweeted

And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that the MH17 sentencings have been an necessary first step in holding these accountable for the crime however pressed for “masterminds” to additionally face judgement.  

“Essential court docket choice in The Hague,” Zelensky wrote. “Holding to account masterminds is essential too, as the sensation of impunity results in new crimes. We should dispel this phantasm. Punishment for all [Russia’s] atrocities then & now could be inevitable.”