Call for MH17 jus­tice

Bishop backs trial

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - JOE SPAGNOLO

FOR­EIGN Af­fairs Min­is­ter Julie Bishop has re­newed her vow to the fam­i­lies of the 38 Aus­tralians mur­dered on Flight MH17 that the killers will be brought to “jus­tice”. Speak­ing to the Sun­day Her

ald Sun from Bel­grade, Ms Bishop called on Rus­sia to co­op­er­ate with new moves to pros­e­cute the sus­pects in the Nether­lands, which she said was “an op­por­tu­nity for the truth to be re­vealed”.

On the eve of the third an­niver­sary of the tragedy, Ms Bishop said she was haunted by the mem­ory of watch­ing bod­ies be­ing re­moved from the crash site.

“I will never for­get when they were bring­ing the bod­ies in closed car­riages from the crash site to a tem­po­rary morgue that had been set up in an old Soviet Union fac­tory. It was a chill­ing mo­ment,” Ms Bishop said. “These are the type of mem­o­ries that will stay with me for­ever.”

Ms Bishop said she — and the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment — were still com­mit­ted to bring­ing the per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice.

“Aus­tralia calls on all coun­tries — in­clud­ing Rus­sia — to co-op­er­ate to achieve jus­tice for those who suf­fered as a re­sult of the down­ing of MH17,” she said.

“That in­cludes pro­tect­ing any per­sons who could be called to give ev­i­dence in tri­als.

“We are de­ter­mined to hold peo­ple to ac­count by an im­par- tial and in­de­pen­dent court that en­forces the law.

“We want to send a very strong mes­sage to the per­pe­tra­tors of this act, and those who might con­sider com­mit­ting sim­i­lar acts, that they will be pros­e­cuted. This is an op­por­tu­nity for the truth to be re­vealed.”

Fam­i­lies of some vic­tims are trav­el­ling to Hol­land for the open­ing of a memo­rial in Am­s­ter­dam, where the ill-fated flight de­parted on July 17, 2014, bound for Kuala Lumpur.

On Fri­day, Ms Bishop con­demned a “dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign” that had at­tempted to “dis­credit the in­ves­ti­ga­tion”, and said there had been “very dis­turb­ing re­ports that key wit­nesses had been de­tained”.

She said Hol­land had signed a treaty with Ukraine that gave the Dutch gov­ern­ment ex­tra­di­tion pow­ers. She said the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment would pro­vide sup­port for fam­i­lies to view and par­tic­i­pate in pro­ceed­ings.

Rus­sia has strongly de­nied any in­volve­ment in the down­ing of MH17. But in­ter­na­tional pros­e­cu­tors last year said the air­liner was hit by a Rus­sian­made mis­sile launched from a vil­lage held by rebels fight­ing Ukraine forces. Ms Bishop is in Ser­bia pur­su­ing sup­port for Aus­tralia’s bid for a seat on the UN’s Hu­man Rights Coun­cil.

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