The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has announced the names of three Russian and one Ukrainian nationals suspected of being involved in the Boeing jet crash in Ukraine in July 2014. The list of suspects includes Igor Girkin, known under the nickname of Strelkov, a relative of one of the crash victims Seline Fredericks told reporters on Wednesday.
"The investigators named four people, three Russians and one Ukrainian," she said. Fredericks clarified that the other suspects are Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko.
"The court is expected to hear the case on March 9, 2020," Fredericks pointed out, adding that the suspects will be charged with murder, TASS reports.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers, citizens of 10 countries, and 15 crewmembers. In spite of the active armed conflict on the ground, Kiev didn’t close its airspace over the Donbass region to international passenger flights.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, was set up to investigate the tragedy.
In June 2017, the JIT countries made a decision that the hearing will be held in a Dutch court under the Dutch laws. The Netherlands’ prosecution heads the JIT and will be responsible for filing the case and presenting the details.
In accordance with the decision of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, the case will be heard at the Schiphol Judicial Complex in the town of Badhoevedorp.
In May 2018, Australia and the Netherlands said that they would seek to hold Russia responsible for complicity in the plane crash on the grounds of the provisional report published by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) claiming that the missile system that was used to down Flight MH17 could have been transferred from Russia and be a part of the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade near Kursk.
Moscow rejects the JIT accusations. Particularly, the Russian Defense Ministry said that no Russian army missile system had ever crossed the Ukrainian border.
Moreover, the defense ministry’s representatives reported that they had identified the missile that was launched to down the Boeing and established that it was transferred over to the Ukrainian troops back in 1986 and had never returned to Russia since.