Australia To Continue Proceedings At ICAO After Hague Court's Verdict On MH17 - Minister

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th November, 2022) Australia, following the verdict of the Hague District Court in the case of the MH17 plane crash in Donbas, will continue proceedings at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Friday.

On Thursday, the court found two Russian citizens, Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky, and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko guilty of shooting down the MH17 plane and sentenced them to life imprisonment in absentia. They also have to pay 16 million euro ($16.6 million) in damages to families of the victims. The fourth defendant, Russian national Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted of the charges. The Hague court did not directly link the use of the Buk air defense system that led to the plane crash with Moscow, but said that Russia controlled the region where the incident happened at the time.

"You may be aware that there are a number of other proceedings that the Australian Government is still continuing to press alongside the Government of the Netherlands. One of those is the ICAO proceedings, which is the international council in relation to aviation. The Australian-Dutch legal proceedings at the ICAO council are still ongoing. Russia is disputing jurisdiction, but we will continue to press for that," Wong told a press conference on the MH17 flight.

In March, the Dutch cabinet said that the Netherlands and Australia had filed a joint complaint against Russia with ICAO in the case of the MH17 plane crash.

The MH17 passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia crashed in the Donbas conflict zone on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers, mostly Dutch citizens, and crew members on board were killed.

In 2016, the Dutch-led international Joint Investigation Team, which does not include Russia, concluded that the aircraft was shot by a Russian-made Buk missile that was brought to the Donbas area controlled by independence fighters from a military brigade stationed in the Russian city of Kursk. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the JIT allegations of Russia's links to the crash were groundless, adding that the investigation was biased and one-sided. According to Moscow, the Buk missile belonged to Ukraine and was launched from Kiev-controlled territory.