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18 August

2015

Proposed MH17 Criminal Tribunal

By Margaret Forrest 2014 Bursary No Comments

On 29 July 2015, a United Nations Security Council draft resolution proposing the creation of an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in eastern Ukraine in 2014 was vetoed by Russia.  The draft resolution was proposed by Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.  Eleven countries of the 15 member council voted in favour of the proposal with three countries abstaining, China, Angola and Venezuela.

On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down with 298 passengers on board.  The plane crashed in Ukrainian territory held by Russian-backed separatists.  Western nations and Ukraine say there is evidence the plane was hit by a Russian-supplied Buk anti-aircraft missile.  This claim is denied by Pro-Russian rebels in the area and Russia.

On 21 July 2014, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that demanded those responsible, “be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability”.  Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine are currently conducting a criminal inquiry into the downing of the plane.  Separate to this investigation, the Dutch Safety Board, supported by the Australian Federal Police is due to release a report on the cause of the crash in October.  It will be interesting to see whether a decision is made to re-introduce the proposal to a future Security Council meeting or whether justice is sought through a different legal mechanism like the Dutch national courts.