Call for MH17 justice
Bishop backs trial
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.