MH17 suspects to be prosecuted in the Netherlands

Malaysia has agreed that the prosecution of those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine in 2014 be done in the Netherlands.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said  Malaysia together with its Joint Investigation Team (JIT) partners, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine and Australia had agreed that the prosecution takes place in the Netherlands as an effective process for ensuring accountability in compliance with the highest international standards.

“The trial will take place within the framework of Dutch criminal justice proceedings, on the basis of tried and tested substantive and procedural criminal law,” he said in a statement today.

Liow said the Dutch Public Prosecution Service would make the necessary decisions concerning prosecution at the appropriate time given that the criminal investigation was still ongoing.

He said the Dutch legal system granted considerable rights to the next-of-kin to observe and participate in the proceedings.

Liow said the Netherlands maintained a joint legal framework with many countries for legal assistance and extradition, based on multilateral and bilateral treaties.

The cooperation between the investigative authorities would  also continue in the prosecution phase, he said.

“With this milestone, Malaysia is ever more resolute to seek justice. As part of the JIT, Malaysia remains single-minded in our pursuit to prosecute those who are responsible for this unfortunate tragedy,”he said.

Liow said given the complex geopolitical situation, it was crucial that the criminal investigation was conducted in an independent manner.

“At this juncture, it is too premature to speculate on the outcome of the criminal investigation,”he said.

Liow said while the grief of the families and loved ones of MH17 passengers and crew could not be taken away, Malaysia would do everything possible to ensure justice was done independently, fairly and transparently.

“We will not rest until all the facts are known and justice is served,”he said.

The Boeing B777 aircraft, which was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and carrying 298 passengers and crew, was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. –Bernama