MH17: Dutch-led team to release findings on plane downing

An armed pro-Russian separatist stands on part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014
REUTERS/Ukrainian government forces were involved in heavy fighting with pro-Russian separatists when the incident occurred

An international team of prosecutors looking into the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 is due to release its findings on Wednesday.

The Dutch-led team is gathering evidence for a possible criminal trial.

An earlier inquiry by the Dutch Safety Board concluded a Russian-made Buk missile hit the plane, without saying who fired it.

The Boeing 777 broke apart in midair flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed.

Prosecutors from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine are also part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Ukrainian government forces were involved in heavy fighting with pro-Russian separatists when the incident occurred on 17 July 2014.

Later, the European Union and US widened sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

Map of crash site for app

Anna Holligan, BBC News: What we can expect

A source in the prosecutor’s office told the BBC they will pinpoint the launch site and identify the weapon. If they confirm what we already think we know, that a Buk missile was launched from inside territory controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, it will be difficult to deny their involvement.

We understand the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is looking into a broad circle of suspects – at this stage they’re unlikely to name names. This is a criminal investigation but the findings will undoubtedly have a political fallout. The extent of that will depend on the detail contained in this progress report.

There is a question of motivation – why are the criminal investigators releasing this information now? One Dutch diplomat told the BBC there was a suggestion during a meeting of representatives from the JIT member states in New York that this will open the door to suspects fearing for their lives – offering a window of opportunity to hand themselves in.

Many of the families are frustrated that, despite waiting two years, the investigators still can’t tell them who did it. Hans de Borst, whose 17-year-old daughter Elsemiek was on board, says he’s “not expecting miracles”.

Barry Sweeney who lost his 28-year-old son Liam, told the BBC all he wants to know is “Why?”.

 

Source: BBC

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