MH17: at least 76 next of kin want to speak during the trial

76 surviving relatives of victims of disaster flight MH17 want to make use of their right to speak during the trial. This became clear today during a preparatory hearing for the trial against the four suspects of the downing of the scheduled flight in 2014.

Most want to actually do that in court, some would like to speak via a video link or want to record a video message in advance that should be shown during the trial. More than a hundred people have also said that they want to submit a written statement, said lawyer Peter Langstraat on behalf of the team of lawyers, which assists a total of approximately 450 surviving relatives.

“More than 300 surviving relatives also want to file a claim for compensation with the perpetrators, if they are convicted,” said reporter Mattijs van de Wiel, who was at today’s hearing.

Restoration of justice

“Compensation in itself is not the goal of the next of kin,” said attorney Arlette Schijns. “They’re primarily concerned with some form of restoration of justice. Restoration of the injustice, in so far as this is possible, that took place on 17 July 2014. And the payment of damages is the only way that that recovery can take place”

The four suspects are not at trial. One of them has appointed Dutch lawyers for his defence. They want to meet him before the trial starts, but because of the corona crisis it is difficult to fly to Russia.

‘Vileine remark’

According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, there are several flights a week to Russia and the Public Prosecutor’s Office would like to help book a flight. “A bit of a dirty comment,” says reporter Van de Wiel.

The MH17 trial continues on September 28.