Ukraine will try again for tri­bunal for downed plane de­spite Rus­sian veto

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD/OBITUARIES - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ukraine’s for­eign min­is­ter said Thurs­day that the five coun­tries in­ves­ti­gat­ing the down­ing of a Malaysia Air­lines plane over Ukraine a year ago will try again to get UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ap­proval for an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal to pros­e­cute the al­leged per­pe­tra­tors.

Pavlo Klimkin said in an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press that a key Rus­sian ar­gu­ment for ve­to­ing the res­o­lu­tion to es­tab­lish a tri­bunal on Wed­nes­day was that it was pre­ma­ture and “un­timely,” be­cause the re­sults of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion aren’t ex­pected un­til Oc­to­ber. So the five na­tions will try again for a tri­bunal then, he said. The Rus­sian mis­sion to UN had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on Klimkin’s re­marks.

Ukraine and the West sus­pect Flight MH17, trav­el­ling from Am­s­ter­dam to Kuala Lumpur, was hit by a sur­face-to-air mis­sile fired by Rus­sian sol­diers or Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratist rebels on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 peo­ple on board. Rus­sia de­nies that. Klimkin said the five coun­tries - Ukraine, Malaysia, Aus­tralia, Nether­lands and Bel­gium - be­lieve an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal is “the best op­tion po­lit­i­cally and legally” be­cause it would be fully ac­count­able, trans­par­ent and in­de­pen­dent.

“We’re not about to give up on that,” Klimkin said. “In two months we will have the fi­nal and ul­ti­mate re­port, and what would Rus­sia say in two months? We will def­i­nitely try again, with all kinds of sup­port of (the) in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.”

The ac­count ac­cepted by most Western gov­ern­ment is that the plane was brought down by an SA-11 mis­sile launcher - also known as a Buk. U.S. gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have said the Rus­sians might have pro­vided tech­ni­cal help to the rebels to op­er­ate the sys­tem.

Klimkin noted that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said SA-11 launch­ers could be bought on the open mar­ket. But he said: “I still can’t imag­ine, and am deeply sus­pi­cious at any kind of pos­si­bil­ity to buy a SA-11 com­plex there.”

The min­is­ter called the down­ing of MH17 “a na­tional tragedy” for all Ukraini­ans and stressed that a tri­bunal isn’t about pol­i­tics or “pin­ning down Rus­sia,” but about truth and jus­tice for the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies.

Klimkin said there are also other le­gal op­tions to pros­e­cute the per­pe­tra­tors in­clud­ing a so­called hy­brid tri­bunal which would re­quire an agree­ment be­tween par­tic­i­pat­ing states and the United Na­tions and Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ap­proval, and na­tional courts.

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