President Vladimir Putin seemingly signed off on supplying Moscow-backed separatists with the missile system that downed a Malaysia Airways passenger aircraft over Ukraine in 2014, a European investigative workforce mentioned Wednesday, probably implicating the Russian chief in a crash that killed 298 individuals.
However a joint investigation workforce at The Hague mentioned it couldn’t show conclusively that Putin was behind the Buk missile strike on a doomed Boeing 777, and didn’t announce new prosecutions in a case that already produced convictions of three leaders of a separatist army drive in Ukraine.
“The bar for establishing particular person prison legal responsibility is excessive,” Digna van Boetzelaer, a Dutch prosecutor who led the investigation, said in a statement. “In the mean time we don’t meet that bar.”
Even when the inquiry had produced a stronger case towards Putin, he would carry immunity from prosecution within the Netherlands because the president of Russia, investigators said in a 66-page report.
Moscow has lengthy denied any involvement within the assault on the industrial airliner, and has mentioned the European probe is biased. Putin’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark for this story.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 departed Amsterdam’s airport en route to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, on the afternoon of July 17, 2014. Above jap Ukraine, a surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile struck the jet at cruising altitude, downing the airliner close to the border with Russia.
These aboard the aircraft included 193 Dutch residents, 43 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons. Everybody onboard died.
The joint investigation workforce, which incorporates members from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium and Ukraine, mentioned it had shared the outcomes of its inquiry with the households of the victims.
Of their report, investigators wrote that that they had discovered proof suggesting that Putin’s workplace had made the choice to provide the Buk system to the so-called Donetsk Individuals’s Republic, the separatist group in Ukraine mentioned to have carried out the assault.
“Though the investigation produced sturdy indications, the excessive bar of full and conclusive proof isn’t reached,” mentioned the report. “Moreover, whether or not or not he’s entitled to say combatant immunity, the president of the Russian Federation, as head of state, is in any occasion immune below worldwide legislation from prosecution.”
The joint investigation workforce’s almost nine-year probe into the crash will now be suspended, although not formally closed, in line with the report, which relied on intercepted telephone calls that make clear the Kremlin’s army strikes in Ukraine.
In November, three men linked to the Russian security services — Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy, each Russian; and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian — have been convicted of homicide by a Dutch court docket in reference to the downed aircraft. However the defendants weren’t in Dutch custody.
A fourth defendant was acquitted.
The joint investigation workforce’s inquiry led to the prosecution of the three males by the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service.
The report launched Wednesday underlined that the longer term disclosure of latest data might trigger the workforce to pursue new leads.
“The [joint investigation team] has investigated every little thing it will possibly with out the cooperation of the Russian authorities and with out jeopardizing individuals’s security,” Andy Kraag, head of the Netherlands’ Nationwide Felony Investigations Division, mentioned in a press release. “Any additional proof should be sought within the Russian Federation.”
“Our door stays open for them,” Kraag added.