After three months, the MH17 hearings resume at Schiphol court

The high security courtroom. Photo: N. van der Pas
The high security courtroom. Photo: N. van der Pas

The trial of four men accused of involvement in the downing of flight MH17 in 2014 resumes on Monday at the high security court house at Schiphol airport.

Four suspects – three Russians and one Ukrainian – are charged with causing the crash of flight MH17, resulting in the death of all 298 persons on board, and of their murder.

The trail formally opened on March 9 but was halted to allow lawyers for one of the suspects, Oleg Pulatov, to review the evidence. The other three men, Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko, are being tried in absentia without legal representation.

The four are alleged to have cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK missile at the firing location with the aim of shooting down the aircraft.

MH17 took off from Schiphol airport on July 17, 2014, en route to Kuala Lumpur and was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board. Most of the victims were Dutch.

The hearings over the next few days are set to focus on procedural issues, such as naming witnesses, and specific wishes of both the prosecution and the defence and it will take weeks before substantive hearings begin.

The trial has been scheduled to take a year.

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