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Netherlands: MH17 court finds three defendants guilty of downing airliner with Russian-made missile, acquits fourth04:03

Netherlands: MH17 court finds three defendants guilty of downing airliner with Russian-made missile, acquits fourth

Netherlands, Badhoevedorp
November 17, 2022 at 19:00 GMT +00:00 · Published

The Hague District Court convicted two Russians, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and one Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko, on Thursday, finding them guilty of downing flight MH17 with a Russian-made Buk missile over the Donbass region in 2014.

"The court imposes a life-long prison sentence to Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko, in view of the proven charges, how severe they are, the imposed sentence and the affront to the rule of law, the court ordered the imprisonment of the accused," said presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis. "The court acquits the accused Pulatov."

The court found that the third Russian on trial, Oleg Pulatov, had no prior knowledge of the plan. All four have two weeks to appeal the ruling.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

"The court takes a view that everything indicates that the Buk missile was launched deliberately, but that they believed that it was a military aircraft rather than a civil one," continued Steenhuis. "It therefore must have been done in error. Such an error does not, however, detract from the premeditated intent."

The Dutch government blamed Moscow, while Russia strongly denied any involvement and the judgment did not directly link the use of the Buk system to Moscow.

In response to the decision, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the court had "neglected the principles of impartial justice for the sake of the current political situation", claiming judges were under "unprecedented pressure" from Dutch politicians, prosecutors’ representatives and the media, leading to a "politically motivated outcome".

The department stated that prosecutors’ conclusions were based on evidence from "anonymous witnesses whose identities are classified, as well as on the information of dubious origin" from Ukrainian Security Services.

It claimed there was "no convincing evidence" that MH17 was shot down by a Buk system of Russian origin, and accused judges of ignoring documents declassified by the Russian Defence Ministry which it says show "the transfer to Ukraine of a missile, the serial number of which matches that found on the wreckage at the crash site."

The ministry also reiterated its condemnation of Kiev for failing to close the airspace over a combat zone and the United States for refusing to share satellite images from the day of the incident.

Netherlands: MH17 court finds three defendants guilty of downing airliner with Russian-made missile, acquits fourth04:03
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The Hague District Court convicted two Russians, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and one Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko, on Thursday, finding them guilty of downing flight MH17 with a Russian-made Buk missile over the Donbass region in 2014.

"The court imposes a life-long prison sentence to Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko, in view of the proven charges, how severe they are, the imposed sentence and the affront to the rule of law, the court ordered the imprisonment of the accused," said presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis. "The court acquits the accused Pulatov."

The court found that the third Russian on trial, Oleg Pulatov, had no prior knowledge of the plan. All four have two weeks to appeal the ruling.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

"The court takes a view that everything indicates that the Buk missile was launched deliberately, but that they believed that it was a military aircraft rather than a civil one," continued Steenhuis. "It therefore must have been done in error. Such an error does not, however, detract from the premeditated intent."

The Dutch government blamed Moscow, while Russia strongly denied any involvement and the judgment did not directly link the use of the Buk system to Moscow.

In response to the decision, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the court had "neglected the principles of impartial justice for the sake of the current political situation", claiming judges were under "unprecedented pressure" from Dutch politicians, prosecutors’ representatives and the media, leading to a "politically motivated outcome".

The department stated that prosecutors’ conclusions were based on evidence from "anonymous witnesses whose identities are classified, as well as on the information of dubious origin" from Ukrainian Security Services.

It claimed there was "no convincing evidence" that MH17 was shot down by a Buk system of Russian origin, and accused judges of ignoring documents declassified by the Russian Defence Ministry which it says show "the transfer to Ukraine of a missile, the serial number of which matches that found on the wreckage at the crash site."

The ministry also reiterated its condemnation of Kiev for failing to close the airspace over a combat zone and the United States for refusing to share satellite images from the day of the incident.