The judges in the criminal case against the defendants in the MH17 case today are looking at the wreckage of the gunned plane. The mantelpiece is at Gilze-Rijen Air Base, where the reconstruction is made with the debris of the front of the aircraft. There are other wreckage there, too.
According to the Public Prosecutor‘s Office, the debris indicate an impact of a Russian Buk missile from a field in Eastern Ukraine. That area was under the control of rebels who fought for independence with the support of Russia.
This is what the reconstruction looks like:
The lawyers of one of the suspects stressed in the hearings that have been so far that other theories should also be looked at. They think it’s possible that the MH17 was shot out of the sky by another plane. It has also been suggested that the Buk was fired from a completely different place. That could be a place where the Ukrainian government forces were in charge at the time.
The judges themselves now form a picture of the impacts. They look at the wreckage, among other things, with an aerial work platform. According to reporter Mattijs van de Wiel, they think they can better value the statements of experts and witnesses if they have seen the wreckage themselves. You can watch the court‘s live stream here.
limited number of people can be present at the chimney, partly due to the coronameasures. In addition to the judges and representatives of the prosecution, two lawyers of the Russian defendant Oleg Pulatov and two lawyers of the next of kin are present.
Suspects not present
In total, there are four suspects in the criminal case, three Russians and one Ukrainian. Pulatov is the only one to be assisted by lawyers. At that time, he was deputy commander of an espionage unit of the Eastern Ukrainian rebels, who fought for independence with the support of the Russians.
None of the suspects are present at the trial before the court of The Hague. The trial started as early as March last year, but so far it was mostly about proceedings. The substantive treatment should begin in two weeks.
Malaysia Airlines was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014, when it crashed over eastern Ukraine. There was then a fight between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists. The disaster killed 298 people, including 196 Dutch.
The MH17 tapes
In April, Nieuwsuur published a story about thousands of bugged phone calls from one of the suspects: Sergei Dubinsky. It’s about tapes that the secret service of Ukraine had on two numbers of him.
With these tapes, Tecceit on 3 makes this interactive story. You can hear the role of all four suspects in the case in the hours surrounding the disaster: