14:15 15.04.2021

Preliminary hearings in downed MH17 case resumed in Netherlands

3 min read
Preliminary hearings in downed MH17 case resumed in Netherlands

The District Court of The Hague on Thursday resumes preliminary hearings in the case of the MH17 Malaysian Airlines flight, which was shot down on July 17, 2014.

The hearing is still at the stage of assessing the readiness of the case for examination of the merits, which is scheduled for June 7.

It is expected that the subject of discussion of this block, which is scheduled for two days April 15 and 16, will be the course of the investigation entrusted to the investigating judge after the requests of the defense of one of the accused, Oleg Pulatov, were partially sustained. He is the only one represented by the attorneys. The hearings are being held in the absence of all the accused: three Russians and one Ukrainian Pulatov, Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Serhiy Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko. They are charged with the murder and crash of 298 passengers.

The previous block of court hearings took place on February 1 and 8, during which Pulatov's defense announced motions, to which the prosecution then reacted, followed by a court decision.

In particular, the court rejected the request to provide an expert of the Russian manufacturer of the Buk Almaz-Antey system with the opportunity to visit and investigate the wreckage of the downed MH17, but considered it appropriate "to leave open opportunities for the investigating judge to provide an opportunity for experts to visit the reconstruction to properly understand the report" of the nature of the damage to the aircraft.

The court also rejected a request to provide a photo of all the wreckage of the plane, including those that were not transported to the Netherlands and remained in Ukraine. At the same time, the investigation was instructed to check if there are more photos that can be provided to Pulatov's defense.

The court also ruled on the linguistic examination of the intercepted telephone conversations, instructing Pulatov himself, by February 22, to inform the investigating judge in which of the conversations he took part, with the subsequent use of these fragments for linguistic research and comparative voice analysis.

The court did not make any decision to conduct a special inspection during a visit to the reconstruction of the downed aircraft, as it considered that this decision could be made only after, based on the interview of the investigating judge with experts, a clear understanding of the difference in opinions about the possible launch site was obtained. At the same time, the court has already instructed the prosecutor's office, if a decision on such a visit is made, to start organizing in advance. The suggested date for such a visit is between May 17 and May 28.

In addition, the court did not sustain the request of Pulatov's defense about the radar database, about an interview with a separatist named Leon from the illegal formation in Konstantynivka.

The trial has been going on for over a year, starting on March 9, 2020. At the same time, the investigation of this crime continues.

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