Four Russian-linked individuals are currently being tried in the Netherlands on charges of mass murder for their alleged involvement with the Malaysia Airlines disaster.
The passenger plane MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew members were killed.
This was the site of fighting between pro-Russian separatists forces and Ukrainian forces at that time. This was the beginning of this year’s conflict.
Representatives for victims claim that the ruling is a landmark. The suspects are still fugitives and could face life sentences. They are all believed to be in Russia, and they will not be extradited.
Moscow denies any involvement or responsibility in the downing MH17. It also denied any presence in Ukraine in 2014.
Prosecutors allege that the three suspects were former Russian intelligence officers as well as a Ukrainian separatist leader. They helped to transport and organize for a Russian army BUK ballistic missile into Ukraine which was used in the downing of the plane.
They were charged with murder and the shooting down an airplane in a Dutch court. They could face manslaughter charges if the Hague District Court determines that the act wasn’t premeditated.
Phone call intercepts were used to prove that the men believed they were targeting a Ukrainian fighter jet.
Three of the men were tried in absentia while the fourth was tried through attorneys he hired. None of the four men were present at the trial.
The victims of MH17 came from 10 different countries. They were travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Over half of the victims were Dutch.
The Netherlands was the lead investigator, while Australia, Malaysia and Australia participated.
Russians Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko are among the suspects.
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