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European Human Rights Court investigates Russia’s role in downing MH17

A year after hearings on the merits of the Dutch and Ukrainian complaints against the Russian Federation, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to consider Russia’s responsibility for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. In addition, the Court also handles individual complaints filed by relatives of air accident victims. A Boeing 777 was carrying 298 passengers and crew on July 17, 2014 when it was torn into three by a Russian-made Buk missile while flying over eastern Ukraine. .

The Dutch government has argued that Russia has committed to three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, namely Article 2 protecting the right to life, Article 3 prohibiting torture and inhuman treatment, and the right to effective redress. accused it of violating Article 13. when there is a violation. This was “regarding the shooting down of flight MH17” and “regarding Russia’s actions in the aftermath of the incident and the investigative measures taken by the Dutch authorities and the Joint Investigative Team,” the court said in its verdict.

“The court concluded that there was well-substantiated prima facie evidence supporting the Dutch government’s claims under sections 2, 3 and 13, in particular in the materials collected by the JIT, and the complaint was admitted. I declared that I could,” the court said. statement. The decision to accept a case is final. The Grand Chamber of the Court will decide on the merits at a later date.

It is the first time that the ECtHR has laid down rules on the extent to which a state may be held liable in an aircraft crash. A court in Strasbourg can order Russia to compensate for the damage caused by the crash. Representatives from the Netherlands and Ukraine attended the court, but the table provided for defendant Russia remained empty, even though all countries had been notified of the date the verdict would be read out. .

The plane left Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport that morning and was shot out of the sky as it was en route to Kuala Lumpur. Three people were found guilty in a criminal case heard by the district court in The Hague. Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Leonid Chharchenko were convicted in absentia late last year and sentenced to life in prison. Oleg Platov was one of the original four suspects represented by defense attorneys and was acquitted.

Six years after the accident, the Netherlands applied to the European Court of Human Rights for a hearing. On January 26, 2022, the court will hear the admissibility argument, with the Netherlands blaming Russia, which was effectively commanding military personnel fighting in eastern Ukraine at the time, for the crash. bottom. The Netherlands said criminal trial evidence was sufficient to show that Russia was not only involved, but also responsible.

Russia countered that there are no controls in war zones like eastern Ukraine. It said it was dominated by Ukrainian separatist rebels.

A majority of the ECtHR judges who presided over the application said the MH17 case should be heard in court because Russia was in fact controlling the territory at the time of the crash. The court unanimously rejected Russia’s contention that the allegations were illegal and that the court had no jurisdiction. It also said that the lawsuit may still be admissible even if the six-month deadline has passed, as it must first determine what happened and investigate the cause of the crash before filing a lawsuit. rice field.

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