THE foreign ministers of countries whose investigative authorities make up the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) – Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands – will sign a document on the downed Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in New York next week.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Malaysia Olexander Nechytaylo said the signing of the document, which defines detailed steps and actions for all participating countries, would be held on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.
“The countries remain fully committed to taking effective measures and to investigate.
“Ukraine, with the JIT, are still working very closely, and this document will specify in depth... which is one of many channels that we’re working on currently,” Nechytaylo told Bernama in an interview at the news agency’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur recently.
The flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 on board.
International investigators have said the flight was shot down by a Russia-supplied missile system that was fired from territory held by Russian-backed fighters.
The probe, led by the Netherlands, which suffered the majority of lives lost, is focusing on some 100 people suspected of having played an "active role" in the incident, but investigators have not publicly named any suspects.
Elaborating on the document, Nechytaylo said it followed another Ukrainian effort to bring the perpetrators to justice, where a suit against Russia was filed early this year.
He said the suit filed on January 16, which included the downing of MH17 as part of the proceedings instituted by Ukraine in the International Court of Justice, sought to hold Russia accountable for acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of unlawful aggression against Ukraine.
"This is indeed a long, ongoing process, and it will definitely take time. The challenge we’re facing is that we have to collect hard evidence that will be admissible in court.
"To get convictions is not easy, what more, given that the territory where most of the debris was discovered is not under Ukrainian government control,” said Nechytaylo, who is concurrently the Ukrainian ambassador to the Philippines.
He said Ukraine and the Netherlands would soon sign a memorandum on the exchange of information relating to the incident.
In July, Dutch officials announced that the trial of suspects arrested over the incident would be held in the Netherlands, a collective decision made by the countries involved.
Malaysia, through Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, welcomed the decision, saying a national prosecution in the Netherlands would ensure “accountability in compliance with the highest international standards”. – Bernama, September 14, 2017.