Dutch court rejects defense team’s request to probe alternative MH17 crash scenarios
The judge provided an explanation for the decision, saying that if the prosecution fails to prove that the main scenario did take place, it will mean that the defendant will be automatically acquitted
THE HAGUE, November 25. /TASS/. The Hague District Court has rejected the request of defendant Oleg Pulatov’s defense team to investigate alternative versions of the MH17 Boeing crash in Ukraine in 2014, presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis delivered the ruling Wednesday.
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According to him, "this request is rejected." The judge provided an explanation for this decision, saying that if the prosecution fails to prove that the main scenario did take place, it will mean that the defendant will be automatically acquitted.
The requests to carry out investigations into alternative scenarios of the crash were voiced during hearings in June. In early July, the court postponed its rulings on the issue.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, conducting flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17, 2014, in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine, killing 298 people from 10 states. A Joint Investigative Team (JIT) was created to investigate the crash, including representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. In June 2019, experts claimed that they had identified a group of four people, suspected of involvement in the tragedy. It includes former leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic militia Igor Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, and his subordinates: Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko. According to the investigation, the former three are Russian nationals, and the latter is a Ukrainian national. The court hearings against the four men began on March 9. Pulatov is the only one represented by a group of lawyers, while the remaining three are tried in absentia. The four are accused of delivering a Buk air defense system from Russia to Ukraine.
Russian officials repeatedly doubted the JIT findings, pointing out baselessness of the plaintiffs’ arguments and unwillingness to use conclusions of the Russian side during the investigation.