Dutch court refuses to consider alternative explanations for MH17 crash
The Hague District Court has rejected a request from the defendants in the MH17 case to investigate alternative explanations for the plane crash, reports the Russian state news agency TASS.
The petition was filed in June by the defense attorneys representing one of the accused, Russian citizen Oleg Pulatov. The defense requested more time to investigate an alternative scenarios alleging that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet or a Buk missile fired by the Ukrainian army.
The prosecutor opposed the request on the grounds that in order to justify investigating alternative explanations for the plane crash, Pulatov’s defense attorneys would have to find evidence of inconsistencies in the main version of the events, which they had not done.
Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the defense had not provided clear alternative scenarios for an investigation, Reuters reports.
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed (most of them were Dutch citizens). A Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (the JIT) later determined that a rocket fired from a Buk missile launcher belonging to Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk downed the plane. Moscow denies any involvement in the crash.
In June 2019, four suspects were charged for involvement in the downing of the plane: three Russian citizens — Igor Girkin (known as Strelkov), Sergey Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov — and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko. The criminal trial began in the Netherlands in March 2020. The accused are being tried in absentia. Of the four defendants, only Oleg Pulatov hired a defense team and testified via video link.