Dutch judge at centre of MH17 conspiracy theory steps down

A Dutch judge who tried to influence the court presiding over the recent MH17 trial by spreading a conspiracy theory among the judges has resigned from the bench.

Judge Charlotte van Rijnberk, who worked at the court of appeal in The Hague, distributed a book written by her brother to judges and prosecutors involved in the MH17 case. She was given a formal reprimand and was moved to a different department so she no longer had a role in criminal trials.

The court has now said she has resigned, the Telegraaf reported.

The book’s author, who used a pseudonym, argues that flight MH17 was not downed by a Russian missile at all in 2014, as the Dutch Safety Board and the public prosecutor had concluded. Instead, he claims the plane was shot down by the Ukrainian authorities.

Describing the trial as the result of corruption, the aim of the book, the author said on the cover, was to make sure the court case proceeded with different public prosecutors and different suspects.

The judge herself described the findings of the MH17 investigation as “a deliberate and transparent cover-up” and said some of the data used was “manipulated and a lie”, broadcaster NOS reported. According to the FD, she also wrote to judges and court officials in an attempt to influence the proceedings.

Judges determined last year that flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian Buk missile over Ukrainian territory. All 298 occupants died in the disaster, including 196 Dutch nationals.

Three of the four people accused of facilitating the disaster were found guilty and the fourth acquitted by The Hague court last November. None were in the Netherlands for the trial and no one has launched an appeal.

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