On July 17, 2014, as it was passing over eastern Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur – was shot down by a missile. 15 crew members and all 283 passengers lost their lives as a result.
Three men, comprising of two Russian intelligence officers, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy, as well as Ukrainian separatist Leonid Karachenco were recently convicted and discovered to be members of a Russian-backed separatist movement in eastern Ukraine.
The trio were to be detained and sentenced to life in prison in absentia by the court, in addition to $16.5 million (around RM75,624,450) in compensation paid to the victims, as per Simple Flying. The men currently remain at large.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the conviction and denounced it as “scandalous” despite the case’s ample evidence. The Dutch government then called on the Russian Ambassador to discuss the matter.
The Hague District Court’s decision was based on irrefutable proof that a Buk missile had been launched from a farm close to Pervomaiskyi in the separatist territory, as stated by the Dutch judiciary, de Rechtspraak.
As per the Dutch judiciary’s website, there is “absolutely no question in the court’s mind that a Buk missile launched from this farm area struck the MH17.
“This is evident from pictures of a smoke trail in the sky, testimony from a secure witness, satellite photos, intercepted phone calls, transmission mast data, footage and photos of a Buk Telar [missile launcher] being brought in and removed, and an investigation of fragments found in the crew member’s remains as well as in the truss and the groove of the aircraft.
“Investigations both domestically and overseas have turned up no signs of evidence manipulation. The data disproves alternative hypotheses, such as the Buk missile being fired from a different location.”
Moscow, in response has stated that the judgement is unfair and that the case and verdict were “politically driven” based on the assertions of unnamed witnesses.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the court was subject to extraordinary stress from Dutch politicians, the press, and prosecutors to force a blatantly political judgment in the case, warning that it would turn out to be “one of the most scandalous in history.”