3 found guilty, 1 acquitted as court confirms Flight MH17 was hit by Russian-made missile

The Boeing 777 was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was blown to pieces over Ukraine on July 17, 2014

3 found guilty, 1 acquitted as court confirms Flight MH17 was hit by Russian-made missile
Malaysian Airlines MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made missile, a Dutch court has ruled (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
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AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: A Dutch court has confirmed that it was a Russian-made missile that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, killing all 289 people on board in 2014. A 19-year-old Dutch-American athlete had also died while trying to join his family for a holiday. In its latest ruling, the court has held two former Russian intelligence officers, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and Ukrainian Leonid Karchenko, guilty of murdering nearly 300 people on board while working for Russia. However, citing lack of evidence, the fourth and only accused present during the trial, Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted by the Dutch court.

The Boeing 777 was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was blown to pieces over Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The air strike happened amid an ongoing conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said in his ruling that evidence suggests the plane was shot down by a Russian-made missile launched by pro-Moscow Ukrainian rebels. The trial lasted over two years and the court finally gave its verdict on Thursday, November 17. Prosecutors and the suspects have been given two weeks to file an appeal.

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The courtroom was filled with the relatives of the 289 victims. “The truth on the table - that is the most important thing,” said Anton Kotte, whose son, daughter-in-law, and 6-year-old grandson died in the crash. He added it was like a ‘D-Day’ for relatives inside. The judge said in his verdict that all four suspects worked to arrange and transport the Russian army BUK missile system into Ukraine, to be used to bring down the plane, reports Daily Mail.

Intercepted phone calls suggested that the accused thought they were hitting a Ukrainian fighter jet, a key piece of evidence against them in the trial. Meanwhile, Oleg Pulatov, who was acquitted by the court, said in a video recording played in court, “What matters to me is that the truth is revealed. It's important for me that my country is not blamed for this tragedy.”

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters on the verdict, “It can be said that this is the strongest signal to the whole world, including Russia itself, that every war crime committed by the Russians will be documented, investigated and brought to a conclusion. No matter how much time it takes.”

Moscow had denied "any involvement or responsibility for MH17’s missile attack' and any presence in Ukraine in a statement back in 2014. On Thursday, November 17, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ivan Nechaev told reporters the government will closely examine the court’s findings.



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