Thursday 09 April 2020

MH17 witness identities to be kept secret at next month’s trial

Nozzle of BUK missile found at MH17 crash site

A fragment of the BUK missile. Picture: JIT

The identities of 13 witnesses at next month’s MH17 trial are to be kept secret because they face ‘considerable risks’, tv current affairs show Nieuwsuur has reported.

Court documents show the 13 have the right to protection because they feel threatened and their health or safety could be compromised by the hearings, Nieuwsuur said.

Four suspects – three Russians and one Ukrainian, have been summoned to appear in court for the trial.  All are said to have played key roles in the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ in eastern Ukraine, where the Buk missile which brought down the plane was fired.

The documents also show that the four suspects, who are unlikely to appear in court, all face charges of murder and manslaughter because they deliberately put an airplane in danger.

The four provided ‘the commander and crew’ of the Buk missile with telephones and information about the right location where to set off the rocket, and organised the transport of the missile, the public prosecution department documents state.

The first hearings take place on March 9 and are being held at the high security Schiphol airport courtroom.

Dutch

All 298 people on board flight MH17 were killed when it was struck by a missile on July 17, 2014, and crashed into fields in eastern Ukraine. Two-thirds of the passengers on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were Dutch.

The official investigation concluded in 2016 that the plane was shot down from Ukrainian farmland by a BUK missile ‘controlled by pro-Russian fighters’. That conclusion has been disputed by Russia, which claims that Ukrainian fighters were responsible.

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