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Australia and the Netherlands launch UN action against Russia over MH17

Sydney / Amsterdam, March 14 (Reuters)-Australia and the Netherlands said Monday that they had begun joint legal action against Russia by the United Nations aviation over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 eight years ago.

The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. According to international investigators and prosecutors, Russian-made surface-to-air missiles killed all 298 aircraft in eastern Ukraine, owned by rebels. ..

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Russia is responsible under international law and bringing this issue to the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization is a step in the fight for victims, including 38 Australians. Said it would be.

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The Dutch government said the UN Security Council was also informed of the measure.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Wopke Hextra said, “The deaths of 298 civilians, including 196 Dutch, cannot and should not remain without consequences. Current events in Ukraine are: It emphasizes the vital importance of this. “

The rare procedure is based on an article in the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, which aims to protect civilian aircraft from weapons firing. It was added in 1984 following the shooting down of a Korean airliner by a Soviet fighter the previous year.

The UN move is separate from the Dutch murder trial against four suspects over individual criminal liability.

compensation

Australia said it is seeking full compensation from Russia for the injuries caused and the suspension of Russia’s voting rights at ICAO, which sets the standard for civil air travel.

Although not regulatory authority, Montreal-based ICAO is at the heart of a global aviation safety system that works across political barriers. According to the authorities’ website, the dispute resolution has only been used five times.

Morrison said Russia’s “provocative and unjustified invasion of Ukraine” that began last month highlighted the need to hold Russia accountable for what he described as “a blatant violation of international law.” Stated.

Australia and the Netherlands said they rely on evidence that MH17 was shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile system transported from Russia under Russian-backed separatist control and returned to Russia after the shooting down.

Moscow, which describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operations,” has always denied its involvement in MH17 and has promoted various alternative theories, but international investigators say it is not supported by evidence. I refused.

negotiation

The results at ICAO are uncertain, but experts said the move could be seen as a further way to force Russia to negotiate the case, despite continuing to deny involvement.

In past cases, the formal ICAO debate has also been seen as a step towards proceeding in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, as Iran did against the United States over the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988. ..

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday that Australia and the Netherlands had sincerely negotiated with Russia, but Russia unilaterally withdrew in 2020.

The Netherlands said last year that it wanted to bring Russia back to the negotiating table, but did not rule out legal action.

Comments from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not immediately available.

The murder trial decision is expected to include a large number of three Russians and Ukrainians remaining, and no defendant was present in Dutch court later this year.

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Report by Kirsty Needam, additional report by Stephanie van den Berg and Tim Heffer, edited by Raju Gopara Krishnan and Hugh Lawson

Our Criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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