Decision on Flight MH17 plane crash to be announced before the end of 2022

The decision on the crash of Boeing 777 aircraft of Malaysian Airlines in eastern Ukraine will be made by the end of 2022, presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis said.

According to the judge, the decision can be announced on September 22, November 17 or December 15, 2022. According to the drawn up schedule, prosecutors may announce the indictment in mid-November or early December of this year, whereas the defense will be able to react to it in March of 2022. The last block of hearings is to kick off in June 2022.

"Usually, the court makes a decision two weeks after the hearings are completed. However, this is not possible for such a large case. At this stage, it is impossible to say how long it will take the court to bring down the verdict," the judge said, explaining why three dates have been reserved for the verdict to be announced.

He also said that the court in the Netherlands attached to the case a number of documents received from the investigating magistrate. 

"It goes about conversations with three witnesses, an expert report from the Institute of Forensic Science of the Netherlands on the comparative analysis of speech and a number of reports from the Royal Military Academy of Belgium, which were available to the prosecutor's office, but were not previously included in the dossier," Steenhuis said.

Witness in Flight MH17 case dies 

One of the witnesses in the 2014 crash of Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine died, presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis said.

The hearings in the case of the plane crash resumed on Monday at the Schiphol Judicial  Complex on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

"As for the witness known as G9O81, we have been informed that his deteriorating health could cause difficulties for his interview, and now we have been informed that this witness passed away several weeks ago," Steenhuis said at a meeting on Monday.

The trial of the MH17 crash began in the Netherlands on March 9, 2020. There are four persons involved in the trial: Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko of Ukraine. Pulatov is represented by an international group consisting of two Dutch and one Russian lawyers. The rest of the suspects are being tried in absentia.

Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Vinnichenko earlier told RIA Novosti that the Russian side provided not only the data from Russian radars, but also documentation showing that the Buk missile system that struck the Boeing belonged to Ukraine. In addition, evidence was provided establishing that the missile was launched from the Kiev-controlled territory, but investigators ignored the information. At the same time, on the first day of the court session, prosecutors admitted that it had received and was studying the information from the Russian prosecutor's office.

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the accusations from the JIT of Russia's involvement in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing are unfounded and regrettable, whereas the investigation is biased and one-sided. 

President Vladimir Putin noted that Russia was not allowed to investigate the plane crash in eastern Ukraine. Moscow will recognize the results of the investigation provided it takes full participation in it. All of the missiles, the engine of which was demonstrated by the Dutch commission investigating the crash of MH17, had been disposed of after 2011, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The Kremlin strongly rejects accusations of Moscow's involvement in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. 

The Boeing 777 passenger airliner of Malaysia Airlines, operating Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17, 2014 in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. All passengers and crew members on board - 298 people - were killed.

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