KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia and Ukraine are expected to ink a document in relation to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 three years ago, this week.
Ukrainian ambassador to Malaysia Olexander Nechytaylo said the signing of the important document would take place at the United Nations in New York.
“As a joint investigation team (JIT) members, we expect the foreign ministers of Malaysia and Ukraine to sign the document, which will detail the further steps to be taken by the JIT in order to prosecute those involved in the tragic accident.
“Ukraine remains committed with Malaysia to get to the bottom of the matter. We believe it is important to makes sure all legal steps are being taken” he told reporters here today.
He adds that in Ukraine, they had defined the incident as a terrorist attack because it was a deliberate attack on a civilian aircraft.
Nechytaylo said it is now important to concentrate on collecting the evidence that will be admissible in the court.
On why the prosecution is taking place in the Netherlands, he said this was because the Dutch were leading the investigation team and the country had the largest number of victims on the plane as well as Dutch legislation being the best when it comes to prosecuting the perpetrators.
“Back in 2015, Ukraine, Malaysia and other JIT members initiated the resolution of the UN Security Council. At that time both Malaysia and Ukraine were members of Security Council.
“However the Russian federation vetoed that attempt and therefore we have decided to use the (Dutch) national legislation.”
He cited the example of Bosnian Serb politician Radovan Karadzic being convicted as war criminal despite the mounting obstacles faced by international prosecutors.
“In the beginning of 1990s no body believed that Radovan Karadzic, for his crime in Bosnia, can be brought to jail. However, things changed and he ended up prison for genocide and crimes (during the Bosnian war).
“So, it’s a matter of time. Once you have the legal mechanism in place, the perpetrator will be brought to justice,” stressed Nechytaylo.
On July 7, Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands Stef Blok and Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko signed a bilateral treaty on international legal cooperation in relation to MH17.
According to a statement issued by the Government of the Netherlands, the treaty provides that those suspected of downing flight MH17 can be prosecuted in the Netherlands in respect of all 298 victims.
“This means that all next of kin will have the same rights in the Dutch criminal proceedings,” it says.
Other JIT members expected to sign the document at the United Nations this week are Australia, Belgium, Ukraine and the Netherlands.
In July, Malaysia had indicated that Malaysia intends to participate as an observer in the prosecution.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was reported to have said that the matter was subjected to a further discussion with the Dutch Public Prosecutor and other countries represented in the JIT.
On July 17, 2014, the Boeing B777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew members onboard.
The aircraft crashed in territory held by Moscow-backed rebels fighting against the Kiev government.