Mother of German MH17 crash victim sues Ukraine in EU court
The mother of “Olga L.”, a German citizen, submitted her case against Ukraine to the European Court of Human Rights last week. She is demanding €800,000 (roughly $1 million) for negligent homicide, reports the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
The woman insists that Ukrainian authorities should have shut the country’s airspace to civilian flights due to the heavy fighting between Kiev troops and militias in the country’s east.
She argues the Kiev government failed to do this because they didn’t want to lose out on overflight fees. According to Bild, around the time of the disaster about 700 flights were crossing Ukrainian territory daily, accruing several millions of euros in revenue a month.
The victim’s mother is being represented in court by Elmar Giemulla, a professor of aviation law. Giemulla is also acting for other German families of MH17 victims, who announced in September that they are also planning to sue Kiev in court.
"Each state is responsible for the security of its air space," Giemulla said in September. "If it is not able to do so temporarily, it must close its air space. As that did not happen, Ukraine is liable for the damage."
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was apparently shot down on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over eastern Ukraine on July 17. Four German citizens were among the 298 victims of the plane crash.
A preliminary report into the disaster delivered by Dutch investigators on September 9 said that the MH17 crash was a result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects striking the Boeing from the outside.
However, in November the Dutch government refused to reveal details of a secret pact between members of the Joint Investigation Team (the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine) examining the downed Flight MH17. If the participants, including Ukraine, do not want information to be released, it will be kept secret.
Earlier, a number of Western countries blamed Russia for the tragedy, which they said was caused by a surface-to-air missile launched by rebel forces in eastern Ukraine with help from Moscow.
Russia, which denies such allegations, expressed some irritation with the lack of new evidence presented in the report. Moscow suggested the UN should appoint a special representative to monitor the investigation into the shooting-down of flight MH17.
Moscow made radar surveillance data of the incident public, arguing it pointed to the possibility that the Ukrainian side downed the Malaysian plane.