‘One-way street’: MH17 probe says nothing of Ukrainian government’s responsibility
The Dutch-led investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over a rebel-held Ukrainian region appears to be going “just one way” and ignores Kiev’s responsibility, aviation lawyer Heiko Van Schyndel told RT.
On Wednesday, four individuals were charged with murder in the lingering MH17 case. International arrest warrants were issued for three Russians and one Ukrainian, all believed to be embedded with the rebel forces at the time. The investigators accuse them of playing a significant role in the tragedy, by receiving a Buk missile, allegedly from Russia, which they claim was used to shoot down the plane.Also on rt.com We regret ‘baseless’ accusations by intl probe Russian military complicit in MH17 crash – Moscow
However, questions have been piling up about the impartiality of the probe and about the way they arrived at these seemingly breakthrough conclusions.
While Moscow is squarely blamed for the incident, the investigators have kept mum about the responsibility of the Ukrainian government, which did not close its airspace despite being aware that there were missiles in the area, Van Schyndel, who also represents German MH17 victims in ongoing litigation, said.
“About… the possible fault of the Ukrainian government, nothing is said in the investigation. If you blame somebody that 298 people were killed, then you also should ask the question about Ukrainian involvement in this,” he told RT.
Moreover, Kiev, a full-fledged member of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIT), has been up to date with all the developments of the probe and, being part of the team, has more leverage over its outcome than Moscow, which does not have any say in the investigation.
“I had the impression that the investigation was just one way,” he said. “Ukraine is part of the investigation, Russia not.”
Asked if he considers the case presented by the JIT to be solid, Van Schyndel pointed out that the findings are still shrouded in secrecy, leaving his clients and many more victims of the crash without a sense of closure.
“They said they have investigated something… they presented to the public nothing,” he said, calling on the JIT to “at least give them [the families of the deceased passengers] that all is disclosed, and not that something is hidden somewhere.”
Despite being effectively shut out by the investigators, Moscow has reiterated that it is still open to cooperation, although its insight has been repeatedly ignored. Russia has provided radar data, declassified military data on the Buk missile, and documents proving that the missile which downed the plane had been in Ukraine since the 1980s.
Aviation expert Julian Bray told RT that the Kremlin has good reasons not to take the JIT findings at face value.
“They can actually be excused for saying: “Well, we were not involved in the investigation, how on Earth could we actually rubber-stamp this?’” he said. Bray noted that, from the outset of the investigation, it has been heavily politicized.
Speaking about the radar imagery that supposedly set the record straight, Bray argued that it could have been tampered with, as “basically something off a computer screen.”
“If you’re so minded, it is possible to change things around,” he said.
The JIT refused to consider the radar data that Moscow offered, but it doesn’t have that from Ukraine either. In 2015, Wim van der Weegen, spokesman for the Dutch Safety Board (OVV), acknowledged that Kiev did not provide its radar data, claiming that its civil aviation radar was undergoing routine maintenance and the military radar was not working at the time.
All 298 people aboard the Malaysian Airlines flight died after it was shot down over Ukraine in 2014.
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