Australia, Netherlands sue Russia for 2014 airline downing

Legal proceedings in int'l civil aviation body initiated after Moscow's refusal to resolve issue via talks, says Canberra.

Australia, Netherlands sue Russia for 2014 airline downing

Australia and the Netherlands are initiating legal proceedings against Russia for the 2014 downing of the passenger plane MH17, Canberra announced on Monday.

"We have initiated the legal proceedings against the Russian Federation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to the downing the Malaysian airline in 2014," said Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

Addressing a news conference with Attorney General Michaelia Cash, Payne said the decision was taken after Russia refused to negotiate on the matter.

She added that Moscow has so far refused to acknowledge and take responsibility for the incident.

"Today's joint action by Australia and the Netherlands is a major step forward in both countries' fight for truth, justice and accountability for this horrific act of violence, which claimed the lives of 298 victims, 38 of whom called Australia home" she added.

Payne accused Moscow of withdrawing from talks with Australia and the Netherlands in October 2020 and refusing to return despite repeated requests by the two countries.

"Today's joint action under Article 84 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation is in addition to the Dutch national prosecution of four suspects for their individual criminal responsibility in the downing of Flight MH17," she explained.

Attorney General Cash said Moscow violated international law, citing a joint investigation with other partners that she said showed Russia was responsible for the passenger airline's downing.

"We call upon on the ICAO to hold Russia accountable for its crimes as Russia clearly serious breached the Chicago convention," she said.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

All the 298 people on board were killed, including 196 Dutch citizens. Multiple investigations showed that the plane was shot down with a Buk surface-to-air missile system from 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian armed forces, fired from a field in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists at the time.

Hüseyin Demir

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