Sunday 17 October 2021

MH17 evidence may be compromised by Ukrainian secret service: Telegraaf

mh17 crash site nbaaiLegal experts are forecasting substantial problems in an eventual criminal case involving those responsible for downing MH17 with the loss of 289 lives, the Telegraaf said on Tuesday.

The paper says the Ukraine secret service SBU, which is delivering a large part of the evidence, is currently surrounded by rumour and potential corruption which may have an impact on the reliability of key material in the case.

The SBU has provided the investigation with tapped phone conversations between pro-Russian rebels shortly before the Malaysia Airlines plane was brought down by a rocket. The Ukrainians were also closely involved in collecting the bodies, wreckage and rocket parts.

Among the potential difficulties identified by the paper: Former SBU chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who was sacked in June, has been suggested as the brain behind the Hoorn museum art thefts, the Telegraaf said. The works are now in Ukrainian criminal hands.

The ongoing investigation into corrupt Limburg policeman Mark M is also linked to Ukraine. He is said to have had a network of ‘gangsters and members of the secret service’. The paper states that this summer, 22 SBU spies were locked up for corruption and other criminal behaviour

The ‘noise’ is guaranteed to play a role in any legal case, criminal law professor Theo de Roos told the paper. ‘That goes for the defence but also the judges who will have to look critically at the evidence. The public prosecution department should be looking now rather than later at the integrity of the evidence.’

Questions

The Christian Democrats have described the various SBU scandals as a major risk to the MH17 criminal investigation and want justice minister Ard van der Steur to make a statement.

‘There is little actual evidence,’ said MP Pieter Omtzigt. ‘What there is, may have been compromised to some extent. The evidence was collected too late and now appears to have been collected by dishonest people.’

International law professor Geert-Jan Knoops said there needs to be more effort made to authenticate the evidence. ‘For example, we need to now how the SBU selected the telephone conversations and who was involved in their selection,’ he said.

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