The Netherlands Government is bringing Russia to the European Court of Human Rights out over crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over east Ukraine nearly six years ago.
In July 2014, the passenger plane that operated from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine killing the 298 passengers on board. Nearly two-thirds of the victims were from the Netherlands.
“Achieving justice for 298 casualties of the Flight MH17 tragedy has been and will stay the utmost priority of the government,” said foreign affairs minister Stef Blok.
While the Kremlin has denied the claims, the Netherlands reportedly claimed Russia accountable for the crash.
The government said during a statement sent from the Dutch parliament unveiling the step it aims to achieve “truth , justice and transparency” for all those who passed away.
The proceed to back up specific cases presented to the court by relatives of 65 of the Dutch casualties.
The Netherlands prosecution is a remarkable example of one nation bringing another before the European Court of Human Rights, with just 24 such cases since 1953.
“Several families have started proceedings and have now reached a phase of requiring evidence. We also have evidence, and the best way to support them is to provide it to the court by beginning this process, “Blok said.
The spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, portrayed the action taken Friday as “a slap” to relations between Russia and the Netherlands.
“The Hague has taken the direction of positioning all the criticism on Russia for the Flight MH17 accident from its very initial stages,” Ms. Zakharova said this in a statement. “We assume this action will only contribute to more politicization and it will enable the search for truth more complicated.”
Russia has strongly denied any interference in the crash, ignoring that proof that a Russian anti-aircraft missile sent by a Russian military base across the border to eastern Ukraine has shot down the plane.
Rather than investigating the truth, Moscow has introduced a set of extremely improbable counter explanations and media propaganda that has concentrated mainly on targeting Ukraine and attacking the investigation’s authenticity.
Ukraine was battling secessionists supported by Russia in the east of the country when the MH17 missile was blown to bits. The plane broke up in the atmosphere, dispersing wreckage and bodies around a wide region occupied by separatist forces.
An investigative team of Australian, Belgian, Malaysian, Netherlands, and Ukraine officers found that the anti-aircraft missile used to shoot down the aircraft had been carried across the border from a Russian military base shortly before it was fired.
Russia is a party to the treaty to the European Convention on Human Rights and is mandated by it to follow any court ruling. The Netherlands and other countries are already participating in bilateral contact with Russia inside an attempt to have the country participate in the inquiry but no concrete outcomes have achieved.
A Netherlands lawyer said the Dutch decision means that prospects of a diplomatic solution would have been negligible.
“The Russians are also not honoring their contractual responsibilities and the Netherlands government concludes that another step is to have an international court’s ruling,” said Marieke de Hoon, an associate professor of international law at the V.U. Amsterdam University, who had observed the court actions in the MH17 case closely.
“We might also see the government Prosecutor’s Office going to take hard positions in the scenario at the district court in The Hague,” she told, the only one getting started trying in exceptional circumstances against all the four prosecutors. “The Dutch tend to get court decisions, and they have a decent chance of succeeding.”
“We are immensely pleased for this move; the Netherlands is maintaining its transparent and effective strategy to Russia,” said Piet Ploeg, chairman of the MH17 Flight Disaster Foundation, voicing the victims’ family members.