MH17

Finally, those responsible for downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine in 2014 will stand trial in the Netherlands. Malaysia including other countries most involved with the disaster has decided on the matter after having long consultation. The countries involved in this decision are also the countries that make up the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating over the disaster namely Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

We are yet to know the details about the trial and when the trial will begin. Whatever it is, such latest decision over the disaster will bring relief to the victim who have been waiting in years to bring justice to their love one and identify the culprit responsible over the disaster. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. All 283 passengers and 15 crews were killed.

The victims comes from various countries, including 196 Dutch, 43 Malaysian, 27 Australian, 12 Indonesian, 10 United Kingdom, 4 each from Belgium and Germany, 3 Philippines, and 1 each from Canada and New Zealand. So far the investigations carried by the JIT team has determined that the flight was shot down by a Russian BUK missile system that was fired from a field controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the Eastern Ukraine.

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Similar conclusion also has been given by investigation done by the American and other countries intelligent agencies. However, the Russian government has persistently denies their involvement and pointing the finger back to the Ukrainian government. In 2015, Netherlands had asked the United Nations (UN) to set up a special tribunal tribunal to investigate the disaster and prosecute the perpetrator but their proposal was vetoed by Russia.

The decision to bring the matter to Netherlands court is a wise decision as the country has a long history dealing with many international high profile cases. Not to forget, the well know international courts itself located at the The Hague namely the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC).

As such, they will be equipped to handle any international cases effectively and efficiently including the MH17 disaster. Having said so, we must not forget that there could be a downside to the latest decision.

The prime suspect to the case namely Russia may question the impartiality of Dutch judges, given the high number of Dutch victims. The Russian government might regards the latest decision as heavily influence by their enemy namely the United States.

As such, the Russian government might hesitate or refuse entirely to give their full commitment and cooperation to solve the case. Most important for us to think, if the culprit turn out to be Russian, it may create complication to request for any extradition of the suspects thus difficult for the Dutch court to enforce any final sentences. Due to these reasons, it better for us to start thinking other potential avenue just in case if the latest effort had fail.

There are still other ways which can be use to bring justice in this matter like invoking any possible local criminal laws in our country which have the extraterritorial or extra jurisdiction applications to punish those who shot down the plane like the Malaysian Penal Code (Act 574) and Aviation Offences Act 1984 (Act 307).

The issue can also be brought to the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC). ICC been created in the first place specifically to protect people from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, and for many years the ICC has proven itself to be an effective mechanism to address many issues relating to international crimes.

As compare to avenue taken by any individual country, ICC will be seen as neutral and will receive more respect outcome by all nations. By bringing the matter to ICC, the incident can be put into a smooth trial as the ICC is already operating and has significant experience and much expertise looking into such matters.

For the time being, all nations must give their full support and cooperation over the latest decision in bringing the issue to the Dutch court. Other nations which are not directly involve with the incident must come forward and give their full support over the latest decision. All nations including Russia must respect the latest decision taken by the JIT members over the issue.

All nations must give their cooperation when the need arises. Any hesitation or even attempt taken by any nation which is seen or which can be interpreted to stop the recent effort taken JIT members on the matter should be condemn by all and punish according to the existing international rules.

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