Malaysia marks anniversary of MH17 crash

Emotional memorial ceremony takes place in Malaysia to commemorate those who were killed when flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Families of those who killed when their plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine almost a year ago met in the Kuala Lumpur International airport to remember the victims and demand justice. The country's prime minister Najib Razak also attended the ceremony.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was carrying 298 people and flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014 near the Ukraine-Russia border.

The crash killed everyone on board, two-thirds of them Dutch. It crashed in Ukrainian territory held by Russian-backed separatists.

The separatists and Russian authorities have so far denied all accusations regarding downing the plane. Rather, they have accused the Ukrainian armed forces of being responsible for the incident. Joint investigations are still continuing in order to discover exactly what happened and who was responsible.

As the first anniversary approaches, families of forty three Malaysian victims still seek answers, as they voice their anger and frustration over the handling of the tragedy.

The wife of co-pilot, Captain Eugene Choo, told AFP "we want to find out who shot down the plane. We must find out."  

"We're just trying to cope," she said who came to the service with her two sons and relatives.

The anniversary has coincided with Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims all around the world, bringing more pain to the families who will have to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting, without their loved ones.

"It's Ramadan and we feel the sadness," Shahadat Bey told AFP.

"Everyone is just pointing fingers, but it's very important that we get some closure and justice because everybody needs to know what happened."

"For Ramadan, we're sad because we're so used to having all the family members around during this period, but now it's not the same," Madzalina Ghazalee, who lost her sister in the crash, said.

"I know it's almost a year, but we still feel sad, even though we know we have to accept the way things are. But action needs to be taken. I want justice to be served," Rita Phang, whose cousin died in the crash told reporters.

The Malaysian government wants the United Nations Security Council to set up an international tribunal to investigate the incident and find who is responsible of downing the passenger airliner. But Russia dismissed the move that was also supported by Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine.

PM Najib Razak said the multinational investigation into the cause of the crash, led by the Netherlands, could be over by year's end.

"Detailed investigations are still continuing ... and they are expected to be finished by the end of 2015 at least," he said.

The UN Security Council already adopted a resolution demanding that those responsible "be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability."

The tragedy over Ukraine's sky was the second aviation disaster for the country after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished without a trace with 239 people on board four months earlier. The Beijing-bound MH370 can still not be found.

TRTWorld and agencies