Monday, 14 March 2022

Legal action started against Russia over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Legal action has been started against Russia over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 some eight years ago by Australia and the Netherlands.

The two nations say they have begun the joint legal action against Russia at the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization. The Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said: "The death of 298 civilians, including 196 Dutch, cannot and should not remain without consequences. The current events in Ukraine underscore the vital importance of this,"  

The rare procedure comes under an article of ICAO's Chicago Convention designed to protect civilian aircraft from weapons fire. It was added in 1984 following the shooting down of a South Korean airliner by Soviet fighters the previous year.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft was operating flight MH17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. Air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft approximately 50km (30 miles) from the Russia-Ukraine border. The aircraft was then hit by a BUK missile breaking up midair and crashing down over the Donetsk area, killing all 298 onboard and shocking the world.
   
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia told the media that Russia was responsible under international law and that taking the matter to the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization would be a step forward in the fight for victims, including 38 Australians. He said also said the invasion of Ukraine was "unprovoked and unjustified" which highlighted the requirement to hold Russia to account for its "blatant violation of international law".

Australia and the Netherlands advised they would rely on the evidence uncovered by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which found that all the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile launcher were part of the Russian armed forces. It had been driven in to Ukraine from Russia on the day of the incident. The BUK launcher and missiles had been supplied by Russia's 53rd anti-aircraft brigade in Kursk and it was driven back across the border the day after.  
 







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