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Netherlands takes Russia to European Court of Human Rights over MH17 downing in Ukraine

Netherlands takes Russia to European Court of Human Rights over MH17 downing in UkraineThe Dutch government will sue Russia in the European Court of Human Rights for its role in the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014. “Achieving justice for 298 victims of the downing of Flight MH17 is and will remain the government’s highest priority,” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a statement. “By taking this step today – bringing a case before the ECHR and thus supporting the applications of the next of kin as much as we can – we are moving closer to this goal.” Russian officials had no immediate reaction to the announcement. Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile on July 17, 2014, over rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine, in what came to be one of the most tragic episodes in the bloody separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia has stubbornly denied any role in supporting the rebels with troops or weapons. The Dutch-led joint investigative team has insisted that it was the Russian military that deployed a Buk missile launcher to eastern Ukraine that shot down the plane, a claim that the Kremlin has denied. The case is separate to the ongoing trial that opened in the Netherlands in March after Ukraine’s Leonid Kharchenko and Russian separatist commanders, Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, were charged with destroying the aircraft and murdering all people on board. None of the men, who are in Russia or separatist-held eastern Ukraine, are attending the trial, and only Mr Pulatov has appointed counsel to defend him in court. Lawsuits by one country against another are extremely rare for the European Court of Human Rights, which typically deals with claims lodged by individuals against their country, and Friday’s announcement highlights the Netherlands’ frustration with Russia which has refused to cooperate with the Dutch investigation.




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