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16 Jul, 2015 18:17

No need for intl tribunal on MH17, media leaks on tragedy inadmissible – Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin has told Dutch PM Mark Rutte over the phone that the calls to set up an international tribunal over MH17 are premature. He added that media’s politicized “stovepiping” on crash versions is inadmissible, the Kremlin said.

The phone talk between leaders of Russia and Netherlands was initiated by the Dutch side.

Putin and Rutte discussed the ongoing investigation and agreed that its effectiveness is in both countries’ interests.

Vladimir Putin told his Dutch counterpart that international tribunal on MH17 plane crash is not yet needed.

“[President] Putin has clarified in detail Russian position on prematureness and counterproductivity of the initiative of some countries, the Netherlands included, on establishing an international tribunal to ensure criminal prosecution of those responsible for the crash of the Malaysian airliner,” Russian president’s press service reported.

It was also emphasized that prior to making a decision on law enforcement mechanism to bring to justice those responsible for this crime, active effort should be applied to finish the ongoing international investigation.

“It was stressed that this investigation must be elaborate and objective, and have independent and comprehensive character, in full compliance with the Russia-initiated UN Security Council resolution 2166 adopted on July 21, 2014,” the Russian president’s press service reported.

Putin has also brought to specific attention of his counterpart that media leaks of various versions of the catastrophe “which are openly politicized,” are impermissible.

“The two sides agreed to continue contacts at various levels,” the president’s press service added.

The last time President Vladimir Putin and Dutch PM Mark Rutte had an official phone conversation was one year ago on July 21, 2014, four days after the Malaysian Airlines MH17 tragedy.

‘Too early to draw conclusions’

The Dutch Safety Board that has been heading an international investigation into the cause of the crash is due to release its official report in October, while the criminal investigation is expected to continue until the end of this year.

A spokesman for the Dutch chief prosecutor's office and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprised of investigators from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Ukraine and Malaysia, Wim de Bruin, told RT that at the moment it is too early to make any conclusions.

“We are still gathering evidence. In the investigation in a year we have gathered a lot of evidence and information, which will lead us to establishing the cause of the plane crash and in identifying the persons who were responsible for it. But it is still ongoing, and it is too early to draw final conclusions.”

De Bruin reminded that there are two separate investigations – the one by the Dutch Safety Board and a criminal investigation, which is coordinated by the Prosecution Office.

“The criminal investigation will take at least all 2015, and I think it will be continued next year. We won’t come to the conclusions before the Safety Board presenting their report,” he told RT.

Earlier de Bruin told the Telegraph: “We didn't expect to get as far as we are now.”

“There will be charges of murder and possibly charges of war crimes.”

‘Tribunal is intended for those blamed by Washington’ – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that the idea to set up a tribunal over MH17 aims to punish those whom Washington believes to be guilty.

“I remember the interview of the US ambassador [to Russia] John Tefft where he said that the US side ‘exactly’ knows who shot down the plane but waits for the investigation to end,” Lavrov said. “If Tefft describes Washington’s ideas correctly… then it is easy to understand which aim this tribunal will have.”

On Wednesday Russia’s Investigative Committee head Vladimir Markin said that the version that the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 had been downed over the territory of Ukraine by an air-to-air missile nearly a year ago is the one in priority. Markin also added that the rocket was not Russian made.

READ MORE: MH17 likely downed by air-to-air missile, not Russian made – Investigative Committee

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, heading from Amsterdam to Kuala-Lumpur, was downed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. The Dutch Safety Board has been heading an international investigation into the cause of the crash since a large number of passengers on the flight were from Holland and the plane itself flew out of Amsterdam.