MH17: Statement on the occasion of the first instance verdict in the Dutch criminal trial

This 17 November afternoon, the court in The Hague (The Netherlands) delivered its verdict in the criminal trial opened on 9 March 2020 against 4 suspects prosecuted for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July 2014.

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This 17 November afternoon, the court in The Hague (The Netherlands) delivered its verdict in the criminal trial opened on 9 March 2020 against 4 suspects prosecuted for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. This had caused 298 victims, including 6 Belgian nationals. The court found Russians Igor Gurkin and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Khartchenko guilty of murder and playing a role in the destruction of the plane and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Russian Oleg Poulatov was acquitted. The parties, i.e. both the prosecution and the defence, can still appeal this decision.

Belgium reiterates its full confidence in the independence and professionalism of the judicial proceedings before this Dutch court under Dutch law.

For Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, "this pronouncement is an important step in the search for truth and justice. It is essential that those responsible for the destruction of flight MH17 are held accountable in accordance with Security Council resolution 2166 (2014). I reiterate my condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and commend the patience and dignity they have shown throughout this trial."

Criminal investigations into the involvement of other individuals are still ongoing. Together with the other countries that are part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) established in the aftermath of the disaster, Belgium will continue its efforts to shed lights on all the facts, so that justice can be done in an independent, honest and transparent way to the victims, their families and loved ones.

 

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