Tuesday 29 November 2022

MH17: Russia accused of letting potential suspect flee across the border

A reconstruction of the wreckage of MH17 by the Dutch Safety Board.

Dutch prosecutors have accused Russia of deliberately allowing a potential suspect in the MH17 investigation to flee across the border to his native Ukraine to avoid standing trial.

Vladimir Tsemakh was transferred from Ukraine to Moscow as part of a prisoner transfer programme in September, having been arrested on terrorism charges in June. Dutch prosecutors were allowed to question him as a ‘person of interest’ before he boarded the plane.

Ukraine, like Russia, does not extradite its own citizens, but once Tsemakh was on Russian soil Dutch prosecutors asked officials to arrest him so he could be extradited to the Netherlands.

The prosecution service (OM) claims that Russia delayed the process by making repeated requests for information before informing the Dutch on November 19 that they had lost track of his whereabouts.

In a statement published on its website, it said: ‘The Public Prosecution Service received notification from the Russian authorities that the request for the arrest of Mr Tsemakh could not be executed because no information regarding the whereabouts of Mr Tsemakh in the Russian Federation was available.

‘According to media reports Mr Tsemakh had already returned to his residence in Eastern Ukraine. From there he cannot be extradited.

‘The Public Prosecution Service has concluded that Russia willingly allowed Mr Tsemakh to leave the Russian Federation and refused to execute the Dutch request. While under the European Convention on Extradition, it was obliged to do so.’

Prosecutors said that the failure to secure the extradition of Tsemakh would have no effect on the criminal trial relating to the shooting down of flight MH17, which is scheduled to begin on March 9 at the Schiphol high-security court complex. None of the four named suspects, three Russians and one Ukrainian, are expected to be present.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.