The Netherlands is considering dragging Russia to an international court over the downing of flight MH17 after talks over responsibility ground to an impasse, the Dutch foreign minister said Thursday (20 December).
In May, the Netherlands and Australia directly blamed Moscow for shooting down the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with a BUK missile over war-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The two countries “asked Russia to formally contact us via diplomatic channels to discuss responsibility in the interest of justice, the victims and their relatives,” foreign minister Stef Blok said Thursday.
“More than half a year later… diplomatic contacts have not led to a start of talks with Russia and its responsibility for downing flight MH17,” Blok said in a letter to the Dutch parliament.
“The Netherlands and Australia are prepared to continue talks with Russia. But at the same time, cabinet will look at the next steps, in which taking the case to an international judge or organisation will be an option.”
All 298 people on the flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur were killed when the missile slammed into the Boeing 777 as it overflew territory held by pro-Russian separatists.
In November the relatives of 65 Dutch victims lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg demanding that Russia take responsibility for MH17.
The Dutch-Australian claim came after international investigators fingered a Russian military unit based in Kursk for transporting the missile from Russia into eastern Ukraine before launching it — a claim backed by other Western powers.
Moscow has always vehemently denied involvement and instead pointed the finger at Kyiv.
Russia in September said it had “fresh proof”, releasing what it said was the missile’s serial number, aiming to prove the missile was made in Ukraine during the Soviet era.
The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team has said it would “carefully” study Moscow’s claims, adding that information previously provided by Russia such as the alleged presence of a Ukrainian fighter jet near the airliner on radar images was “incorrect”.