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Netherlands: MH17 court took the only correct decision - Pulatov's lawyer on acquittal
03:30

Netherlands: MH17 court took the only correct decision - Pulatov's lawyer on acquittal

Netherlands, The Hague
November 17, 2022 at 18:42 GMT +00:00 · Published

The lawyer for the Russian man, Oleg Pulatov, acquitted at the MH17 trial said the court had taken the only correct decision it could, as judges released their verdict on Thursday.

"Very relieved and delighted that the court took, in our opinion, the only correct decision to acquit our client, Mr Pulatov, so that was, in our opinion, the only decision they could take and therefore we are delighted that this was the final decision," Boudewijn van Eijck told reporters.

The lawyer did say that the summary verdict on the day hadn’t explained why many of the arguments his side had put forward hadn’t been followed, but that he would be reading the full version.

"The court said today that they have enough confidence that this evidence is reliable, we gave the court a lot of examples, showing that in our view it wasn’t that reliable as everybody thought. But again, we didn’t hear why our arguments on that aspect were not followed," he said.

"For example, we have said that if you want to have a full-scale investigation, you also need for example the telephone calls on 17th July (that) were made by the Ukrainian forces because if you want to know if they did something, that caused the downing of this airplane, then you should also, should investigate those telephone calls," van Eijck continued.

"But the court said we are very convinced that the Dutch scenario of what happened is the right one and therefore it wasn’t necessary for the court to allow that the defence received also the other telephone calls we requested for," he concluded.

The court did convict two other Russians, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and one Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko, finding them guilty of downing flight MH17 with a Russian-made Buk missile over the Donbass region in 2014. All 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.

While the court ruled that the three convicted had hit the plane 'in error', it also claimed that it did not 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 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 took the only correct decision - Pulatov's lawyer on acquittal
03:30
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The lawyer for the Russian man, Oleg Pulatov, acquitted at the MH17 trial said the court had taken the only correct decision it could, as judges released their verdict on Thursday.

"Very relieved and delighted that the court took, in our opinion, the only correct decision to acquit our client, Mr Pulatov, so that was, in our opinion, the only decision they could take and therefore we are delighted that this was the final decision," Boudewijn van Eijck told reporters.

The lawyer did say that the summary verdict on the day hadn’t explained why many of the arguments his side had put forward hadn’t been followed, but that he would be reading the full version.

"The court said today that they have enough confidence that this evidence is reliable, we gave the court a lot of examples, showing that in our view it wasn’t that reliable as everybody thought. But again, we didn’t hear why our arguments on that aspect were not followed," he said.

"For example, we have said that if you want to have a full-scale investigation, you also need for example the telephone calls on 17th July (that) were made by the Ukrainian forces because if you want to know if they did something, that caused the downing of this airplane, then you should also, should investigate those telephone calls," van Eijck continued.

"But the court said we are very convinced that the Dutch scenario of what happened is the right one and therefore it wasn’t necessary for the court to allow that the defence received also the other telephone calls we requested for," he concluded.

The court did convict two other Russians, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and one Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko, finding them guilty of downing flight MH17 with a Russian-made Buk missile over the Donbass region in 2014. All 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.

While the court ruled that the three convicted had hit the plane 'in error', it also claimed that it did not 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 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.