Tomorrow the court will begin the substantive examination of the case against the four MH17 suspects. The states office doesnt think the three Russians and the Ukrainian fired the Buk missile themselves. But what exactly did they do? Thats what were gonna hear in the next few weeks.
According to justice, the four men are responsible for the murder of the occupants of flight MH17: they ordered the weapon and drove it to the firing site and then transported back to Russia.
At the start of the process, the role of Russia was also discussed in detail, but Russia is not on trial here. “It is now about these four and now it will become clear what justice is blaming them and what the lawyers put forward in defence,” says Marieke de Hoon, teacher of international criminal law at the VU Amsterdam.
The “real perpetrators”
s no sign of the real perpetrators yet. Anyone who pressed the button and why flight MH17 was brought down seems to be a question for justice too. Yet the Justice Department believes it has enough evidence to prosecute four suspects. “We believe that they have played an important coordinating role in the supply of the Buk Telar, its placement and its return to Russia, which has enabled them to be so closely involved that they can be held criminally responsible for the shooting of MH17.”
From Monday, the court will deal with the three main questions: was Flight MH17 taken down by a Buk, was the missile fired from an agricultural field near Pervomaiski and were the four responsible? The form in which this happens is unusual, because in most cases the facts can be submitted to the defendant. But in this case, none of the four suspects show up, and so the court will confine itself to reading the file aloud.
The four were part of the rebels military structure and would all be responsible for taking down flight MH17. Only one, Oleg Pulatov, is represented by a lawyer.
In the words of his lawyers, Pulatov denies “having participated in any way or having been involved in applying for, transporting, monitoring or firing a BUK system in July 2014. According to him, he did not even know that the separatists had such a weapon system: “No, I did not participate in that in any way,” said Pulatov in a statement recorded by his lawyers in Russia, “I was not even known whether the “folk weather” at all about a had such a BUK system.
Although Pulatov argues that the separatists had a Buk, there is an abundance of evidence and evidence that in the morning of July 17 a Buk drove from Donetsk to Snizhne. The Dutch Safety Board noted earlier that flight MH17 was brought down by a Buk.
Next week, most of the time will be spent on the role the suspects would have played. The prosecution follows the actually military hierarchy, from Girkin, the Minister of Defence of the Separatists responsible in that month, his subordinate Dubinsky who led the unit for which the weapon was deployed and two subordinates of Dubinsky, Chartsenko and Pulatov .
Man in charge
The question is whether they are all responsible to the same extent. Earlier, for example, on the basis of tapped tapes from the protagonist Dubinsky, Nieuwsuur found that he regularly passes his deputy and has direct contact with Chartshenko, the man who accompanies the BUK convoy. Thats definitely the case on the 17th. According to the prosecution, Pulatov also complained about this to Chartshenko on 17 July. On the occasion of this broadcast, the prosecution in court pointed to a conversation in which Pulatov emphasizes that he is the “man in charge”. “Whoever reads the case file knows that Dubinskys orders in the summer of 2014 do not only go to Chartysenko via Pulatov, but are also regularly transmitted directly, and also knows that Pulatov is not always happy with this.”
In recent months, Pulatovs lawyers regularly stressed that Pulatov was not directly involved in transport. This is also evident from the bugged phone calls. He also stated that he was not near the place where the weapon would have stood.
In addition, the question remains who operated the weapon and from whom this person was commissioned. In short, after a year of waiting, the next of kin also begins the moment when they hear what is known about the suspects.
The MH17 tapes
In April, Nieuwsuur published a story about thousands of bugged phone calls from one of the suspects: Sergei Dubinsky. Its about tapes that the secret service of Ukraine had on two numbers of him.
With the tapes make Tecceit on 3 this interactivestory. You can hear the role of all four suspects in the case in the hours surrounding the disaster: