Agreement extending JIT's investigation into MH17 crash case signed
The countries, which are involved in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that is probing the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 crash have signed an agreement on prolonging cooperation.
The Dutch Prosecutor General's Office reported that to Interfax in Amsterdam on Sunday.
"On the eve of the trial, which will begin on Monday, March 9, representatives of five investigative bodies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine, and the Netherlands signed an agreement extending the Joint Investigation Team's (JIT) work," the statement said.
The prolongation of the JIT's work "guarantees that the investigation into the MH17 crash be carried on unceasingly and simultaneously with the trial against the four suspects," the Prosecutor General's Office said.
The trial of the case over the Malaysian Boeing-777 crash in Donbas in the summer of 2014 is due to begin at the Justice Complex Schiphol in The Hague on March 9.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was downed in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on July 17, 2014. None of the 298 people on board survived.
The JIT, which includes law enforcement from Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Malaysia, is probing the incident.
In September 2016, the JIT made public conclusions that that the aircraft was downed by a missile fired from a Buk air defense missile system, and the JIT identified the ownership of the Buk missile a year ago. According to the JIT, the missile launcher belongs to the Russian 53rd Air Defense Missile Brigade, which is deployed in Kursk.
The JIT named four suspects in the MH17 crash: Russians Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov), Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. They are declared internationally wanted and will be brought to criminal liability for the MH17 crash and the death of all of its passengers in line with Articles 168 and Article 289 of the Dutch Criminal Code, the JIT said in a statement. According to Dutch media reports, they are charged with murder and unpremeditated murder.