Flight MH17 shot down: the process is entering a decisive phase

Status: 07.06.2021 1:54 p.m.

It was almost seven years ago when flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine – almost 300 people died. The main trial against four defendants has now started in the Netherlands.

Almost seven years after a passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing almost 300 people, the criminal process is entering a decisive phase. In the absence of the four defendants, the criminal court opened the main proceedings in a specially secured building at Amsterdam Airport.

Kill flight MH17: start of the main hearing

Gudrun Engel, ARD Brussels, Tagesschau 4:00 p.m., 7 June 2021

The court will present the extensive dossier neutrally and impartially, said the presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis. The public prosecutor is charging three Russians and one Ukrainian with the murder of 298 people. You are said to be responsible for shooting down the machine with a Russian anti-aircraft missile.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the four defendants held high positions with the pro-Russian separatists. You are said to be in Russia at the moment. Only one of the defendants is represented by a lawyer.

Plane was shot down by Buk missile

In the coming days, evidence that was gathered in the course of the international investigation will be viewed during the proceedings. “The file consists of about 65,000 pages and many hundreds of hours of visual and audio material. It’s such a big case that it’s just not possible to go into every detail,” said Steenhuis. To date, no one has taken even partial responsibility for what happened.

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The plane was hit by a Buk missile fired from an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists, according to the conclusions of an international investigation. As a result, the missile was brought to Ukraine from a military base in Russia on a mobile launch pad. Russia has denied any involvement.

Judge warns relatives about exposure

Judge Steenhuis warned the relatives of the victims that the coming days could be tough for them if the evidence of their loved ones’ deaths is discussed. “If this becomes too much for you, you are free to leave the room at any time,” he said.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing with flight number MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over contested territory in eastern Ukraine. All inmates were killed. Since most of the victims came from the Netherlands, the trial is also being held there.

Shooting down of flight MH17: the main hearing begins

Stephan Ueberbach, ARD Brussels, 7 June 2021 3:33 p.m.

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