KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Ministers of the countries making up the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), set up to probe the 2014 shooting down of Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH17 over Ukraine, will sign a document in New York next week.
Besides Malaysia, the other countries involved are Australia, Belgium, Ukraine and the Netherlands.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Malaysia Olexander Nechytaylo said the document, which defines detailed steps and actions for all the participating countries, will be signed on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.
“The countries remain fully committed to taking effective measures and to investigate (the incident).
“Ukraine and the JIT team are still working very closely and this document is one of many channels that we’re working on currently,” Nechytaylo told Bernama in an interview at the news agency’s headquarters here recently.
The Malaysia Airlines scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.
International investigators have said the plane was shot down by a Russia-supplied missile that was fired from territory held by Russian-backed fighters against the Ukrainian government.
The probe, led by the Netherlands whose nationals comprised the majority of those killed, focused on some 100 people suspected of having played an “active role” in the incident, but the investigators have not publicly named any suspects.
Elaborating on the document, Nechytaylo said it followed a lawsuit filed against Russia early this year in another Ukrainian effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The suit filed on Jan 16 was part of the proceedings instituted by Ukraine in the International Court of Justice, he added.
He said it was to hold Russia accountable for acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of unlawful aggression against Ukraine.
“This indeed is a long, ongoing process and definitely will take time. The challenges we’re facing now is that we have to collect hard evidence that will be admissible in court.
“To get the convictions is not easy, what more given that the territory where most debris were discovered is not under Ukrainian government control,” said Nechytaylo, who is concurrently the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Philippines.
He also said Ukraine and the Netherlands would soon sign a memorandum on the exchange of information relating to the crash which would further help his country in its lawsuit against Russia.
The Ukraine News Agency reported recently that the information exchange envisaged that prosecution of suspects would give all relatives of the people killed in the crash equal rights in the Dutch process.
In July, Dutch officials announced that the trial of suspects arrested over the incident would be held in the Netherlands, based on a collective decision of the countries involved.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai welcomed the decision, saying prosecution in the Netherlands would ensure “accountability in compliance with the highest international standards”.