THE HAGUE: Dutch lawmakers Tuesday approved a treaty signed between the Netherlands and Ukraine to ease the possible prosecution of those responsible for downing flight MH17, including trying suspects through video link.
Former Dutch justice minister Stef Blok signed the pact with Ukranian counterpart Pavlo Petrenko in July last year, three years after the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.
Approved Tuesday, the treaty sets in stone that the prosecution of suspects will take place in a Dutch court, most likely in The Hague.
It also allows for a trial by video. Jail sentences would be served in Ukraine if convicted suspects cannot be extradited to the Netherlands.
The treaty “is an important step towards finding the truth and putting the suspects on trial, thereby satisfying victim’s relatives,” Blok said at the time.
The Netherlands and Australia last month directly blamed Russia. A Russian-made BUK missile slammed into the plane on a routine flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014.
Although five countries — Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine — are probing the incident, the majority of victims on the flight were Dutch.
The move came after international investigators concluded that the BUK came from a Russian military brigade based in southwestern Kursk.
Moscow has vehemently denied any responsibility and has given a number of other theories pointing the finger at Kiev. – AFP