HomeWorldEuropeThe European Human Rights Court will Investigate Russia's Involvement In MH17's Downing

The European Human Rights Court will Investigate Russia’s Involvement In MH17’s Downing

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After hearing Dutch and Ukrainian complaints against the Russian Federation a year ago, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to look into whether Russia was to blame for the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The court will also deal with individual complaints from the families of the people who died in the plane crash. On July 17, 2014, a Russian-made Buk missile ripped the Boeing 777 into three pieces as it flew over eastern Ukraine. The plane was carrying 298 passengers and crew.

The Dutch government said that Russia broke three parts of the European Convention on Human Rights: Article 2, which protects the right to life, Article 3, which forbids torture and other cruel treatment, and Article 13, which says that people who have their rights violated have the right to an effective remedy. This was because of “the downing of flight MH17” and “Russia’s behaviour after the incident and in relation to the steps taken by the Dutch authorities and the Joint Investigative Team,” the court said in the beginning of its verdict.

“The Court concluded that there was sufficient prima facie evidence, especially in the information gathered by the JIT, to support the claims of the Dutch Government under Articles 2, 3, and 13,” the court said in a statement. “The complaints were declared admissible.” The final decision is that the case will be taken on. The court’s Grand Chamber will decide later on the case’s merits.

It will be the first time that the ECtHR decides how much a country can be blamed for its part in a plane crash. The court in Strasbourg can tell Russia to pay for the damage the crash caused. Representatives from the Netherlands and Ukraine were present in court, but the table for the respondent country, Russia, was left empty, even though all countries had been told when the ruling would be read.

The flight left Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam that morning and was headed to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot out of the sky. In a criminal case heard by The Hague’s district court, three people were found to be guilty. Late last year, Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, and Leonid Chartchenko were found guilty in their absence and given life sentences. Oleg Pulatov was found not guilty because he was the only one of the first four suspects who had a lawyer.

Six years after the crash, the Netherlands asked the European Court of Human Rights to look into the case. On January 26, 2022, the court heard arguments about whether or not the case could be heard. The Netherlands said that Russia was responsible for the crash because it was in charge of the military fighting in eastern Ukraine at the time. The Netherlands said that the evidence from the criminal trial was enough to show that Russia was not only involved, but in charge.

Russia said that control doesn’t exist in a war zone like eastern Ukraine. It said that separatist rebels in Ukraine were in charge. Russia also said that Western countries’ support for the Ukrainian government showed that they were biassed.

Most of the ECtHR judges who oversaw the case said that the MH17 case should be heard by the court because Russia was in charge of the area when the plane crashed. Russia said that the accusations are not true and that the court does not have the right to hear the case. The court ruled unanimously that Russia was wrong. It also said that the case could still be accepted even though it was filed after the six-month deadline because the crash had to be investigated first to find out what happened.

Info source – NL Times

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