Russia makes debunked claims about MH17 before top UN court

A view of the Great Hall of Justice during the hearing. Photo: International Court of Justice (ICJ)

In the second day of hearings before the United Nations’ highest court, Moscow dismissed conclusions from The Hague district court that the weapon which brought down MH17 originated with the Russian military, claiming the passenger aircraft could have been brought down by a bomb on board.

Kyiv filed a complaint with the Hague-based International Court of Justice in 2017, accusing Moscow of violating international law by supporting separatists and annexing the Crimean Peninsula.

During the opening of the proceedings on Tuesday, Ukraine called Russia a “terrorist state” and said the country has failed to meet its obligations under international law by violating two treaties, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, or ICSFT, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, CERD.

In Russia’s arguments on Thursday, it pushed back, arguing the ICSFT required intent to commit violent acts and Ukraine offered no evidence aimed to do so.

The MH17 tragedy – the Boeing 777 shot down as it flew over Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in 2014, killing all 298 people on board – is just one of the attacks Ukraine wants Russia to be held responsible for. But the Russian delegation spent a substantial amount of time in the hearing disputing those allegations specifically.

“At the end of the day, Ukraine’s MH17 case boils down to nonsense,” Gennady Kuzmin, Russia’s ambassador-at-large told the judges.

Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights concluded Russia had control over areas of eastern Ukraine, including where MH17 was downed.

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