The verdict will fall no earlier than September 2022.
6. Sep 2021 at 20:49 TASR
HAAG. Judgment in a trial concerning a Boeing 777 aircraft that crashed in the summer of 2014 during a flight over eastern Ukraine could be rendered on 22 September 2022.
On Monday in The Hague, he was identified as possible by Hendrik Steenhuis, the main judge in the trial. He also mentioned November 17 and December 15 next year as alternative dates, the AFP agency informed.
Russian nationals Oleg Pulatov, Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharkenko are being tried in court in absentia for murder. Only Pulatov has legal representation.
According to investigators, all four accused played key roles in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic at the time of the plane’s shooting, over whose territory the Buk rocket caused the plane to crash.
90 relatives of the victims wanted to testify
The trial of the MH17 flight resumed on Monday in The Hague. This phase will be the testimony of relatives of victims from a Malaysian Boeing plane, which crashed in the summer of 2014 during a flight over the territory of eastern Ukraine. This section – the testimony of relatives – is expected to last about three weeks.
According to DutchNews.nl, the court appealed to 90 relatives of the flight from eight countries to testify. They can testify either in the high-security courthouse set up near Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or via video link.
The first of their relatives testified on Monday, demanding justice and criticizing Russia’s approach.
International investigators claim that a Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a Russian-made missile fired from a location in eastern Ukraine, which was then controlled by Promoskov militants. Russia has denied any involvement in the incident since the start of the investigation.
The Russians know we know they are lying
Ria van der Steen, who lost her father Jan and stepmother Nell, was the first to testify on Monday. She quoted Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in court before the court as saying: “They are lying. We know they are lying, and they know we know they are lying.”
She added that she was broken by feelings of “revenge, hatred, anger and fear”. She said she was aware that her relatives were dead, but could not close the process of saying goodbye to them “until those responsible for their deaths were found guilty of what they had done.”
Peter van der Meer told the judges that after the plane was shot down and the deaths of his three little daughters Sophie (12), Fleur (10) and Bente (7) and ex-wife Ingrid, he no longer had “life or future”.
In his statement before the court, he expressed the hope that after hearing his story, the perpetrators will feel the urgency to express themselves so that “they can look in the mirror and not have to lie to their children or grandchildren about what they did on July 17, 2014”.
Van der Meer declared that after the death of his daughters he stopped celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas. “It’s a children’s holiday. I don’t feel like celebrating anymore. I don’t have children,” he said.
Bad foreboding of the passenger
Another witness, Robbert van Heijningen, who lost his brother Erik, sister-in-law Tina and their 17-year-old son Zeger, said the perpetrators knew they were “shooting at a vulnerable civilian plane – like a clay pigeon, without the slightest chance”.
Sander Essers, whose brother Peter, sister-in-law Jolette Eusink and their two children – Emma (20) and Valentijn (17) – were killed in the tragedy, testified in court that his brother had telephoned him 20 minutes before departure, saying he had ” bad premonition “. “I blame myself for not taking his premonition seriously. I have sleepless nights because of it,” Essers said.
Australian Vanessa Rizková, whose parents Albert and Maree were returning from a Malaysian Airlines plane from holidays in Europe, she said, “perpetrators” deserve punishment for their heinous acts “.
“How would the perpetrators feel if they were close to them? How would (President Vladimir) Putin and his corrupt Russian government react,” Rizkova said in a video call from Australia.
A rocket fired from separatist territory
According to Moscow, the aircraft tragedy was caused by the Ukrainian authorities, because after the outbreak of the conflict in 2014, they refused to close the airspace over Donbas.
The international investigation team concluded that the missile that shot down flight MH17 was fired from separatist-controlled territory, from the BUK anti-aircraft system, which was transported to Donbas, Ukraine, from neighboring Russia, where it was subsequently transported back.