Dutch Prosecutor's Office demands life sentence for those accused of downing MH17 Boeing over Donbas
The Dutch Prosecutor's Office requested life sentences for three Russians and one citizen of Ukraine, accused of involvement in downing the Malaysian Airlines Boeing over the Donbas on July 17, 2014.
According to BBC News, the prosecutor requested a life sentence for Igor Girkin (Strelkov) - the former Minister of Defense of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Sergei Dubinsky - the former commander of the DPR GRU and Oleg Pulatov - the ex-head of the DPR GRU department.
All three are citizens of the Russian Federation and retired employees of Russian law enforcement agencies: Girkin - ex-officer of the FSB, Dubinsky - ex-officer of the GRU, Platov - lieutenant colonel of the airborne reserve.
A life sentence was also requested for a citizen of Ukraine Leonid Kharchenko, who served as the commander of the GRU intelligence unit of the self-proclaimed DPR.
"The actions of the accused not only took the lives of 298 people, but they also left deep scars in the souls of the relatives of the victims and residents of the settlements near which the crash MH17 occurred," Prosecutor General Birgit van Roussel said during the trial, adding that no punishment for the accused would be sufficiently fair.
As the investigation found out, the passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down from the Buk anti-aircraft missile system, belonging to the 53rd air defense brigade of the Russian armed forces stationed Kursk and delivered to the Donbas on the night before the tragedy.
According to the Dutch prosecutor's office, Girkin asked for the Buk and then supervised setting it up. Dubinsky was responsible for transporting it, and Pulatov and Kharchenko helped to move the Buk along the planned route and then return it to Russia.
According to the investigation, the defendants planned to shoot down a Ukrainian military transport aircraft. Girkin himself announced this on social networks, and his message was immediately published by Russian news agencies.
Subsequently, Girkin's message was deleted, and the Russian media reports were updated. Nevertheless, for example, there is still an article on RIA Novosti website, with reference to some eyewitnesses, that a Ukrainian An-26 was allegedly shot down.
According to the prosecutor's office, the prosecution proceeds from the fact that the strike on the civilian aircraft was unintentional, but this does not change the essence of the charges from the point of view of the Dutch criminal code.
The prosecutor's office also requires compensation for the relatives of the victims in the amount of 30 to 40 thousand euros.
The Russian authorities continue to deny involvement in the tragedy, as well as participation in hostilities in the Donbas.
“Attempts to link Russia to the main case of the MH17 crash are unacceptable”, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We see, of course, attempts to create the impression that this is not a criminal case at all, but a state problem, since Russia allegedly supervised these people. This is absolutely unacceptable, these are attempts with unsuitable means," Lavrov said in an interview with RT.
Lavrov added that there are "a huge number of contradictions and inconsistencies" in the case.