Russia slams MH17 tribunal

Lavrov described investigation tribunal of MH17 as ‘not independent, not comprehensive and not truly international’

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Armed pro-Russian separatist taking pictures at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region

Updated Aug 15, 2015

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced his dissatisfaction regarding the tribunal that investigates Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 Boeing 777 which suspiciously crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people - of whom 198 were Dutch citizens - traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014.

Lavrov recently told Singapore-based Channel News Asia that Russia's main complaint is that the Russian experts cannot fully engage and access the information that is being used in the investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Lavrov noted that Russia was the initiator of the investigation which adopted the resolution 2166 by the UN Security Council on July 21, 2014 the authority of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), calling all countries that can provide information to submit to the investigation procedures.

The resolution “Recognizes … States who have lost nationals on MH17, to institute an international investigation of the incident, and calls on all States to provide any requested assistance to civil and criminal investigations related to this incident.”

Lavrov said during a visit to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur “The representative of the Russian Civil Aviation Organization is participating in these procedures, but the information we receive through this representative is not complete. We are being given less information than those who started the investigation.”

At the end of last month, Russian Federation vetoed the UNSC resolution that was calling for an international tribunal on the crash of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight, claiming the resolution followed “political purposes” rather than “practical objectives.”

Russian Federation supports an international investigation under UN, but is firmly against a tribunal.

After the crash of MH17 a criminal investigation team called Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was founded in August 2014 thru the signing of bilateral agreements by Ukraine, Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Lavrov also criticised that Malaysia, the origin country of the plane, was invited to join JIT 4 months later .

“It’s really very strange that Malaysia was invited to join only in December 2014. So now this 5 country criminal investigation group technical investigation team was broadened. They invited several other countries to participate in this technical investigation including the Russian Federation,” he said.

He also added “We believe that Malaysia is the most sincere country in wanting to establish the truth. It has experienced two disasters with its airliners and I don’t see any political motivation in what Malaysia is trying to do.”

On the other hand a statement released on Tuesday by the JIT over MH17 aircraft points to the possibility that the plane was downed by Russian-made Buk (which means “beech,” self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air) missile system.

After the release by JIT, a request came from RTL Nieuws, a Dutch television and news service, under Freedom of Information laws for information about the actions of the Dutch government and the situation of the ongoing investigation for MH17.

The Netherlands’ Minister for Security and Justice, said that a Freedom of Information request does not by itself allow access to information regarding the investigation of the plane crash.

TRTWorld and agencies