Wisma Putra: MH17 Tribunal Is Necessary And Timely

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PUTRAJAYA, July 20 – The establishment of a tribunal by the United Nations Security Council over the downing of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17, prior to the completion of the criminal investigation will ensure that the tribunal is as depoliticised as possible.

Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine are the countries undertaking the independent criminal investigation into the downing of MH17.In a statement, Wisma Putra said the judges, prosecutor and registrar would be appointed by the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon and the prosecutor would be entirely independent and have the power to conduct additional investigations.

“It is important for the Security Council to take clear and decisive action against those responsible for the downing of MH17 to send a clear message to the growing number of non-state actors with the ability to target civilian aircraft that such attacks will not be tolerated.”The Security Council unanimously demanded accountability. One year on, the time is right for the Council to put this demand into action. Justice delayed is justice denied,” it said here today.

Wisma Putra said establishment of the tribunal at this stage was consistent with the Security Council’s own practice.”All other ad hoc criminal courts and tribunals were established prior to the completion of investigations,” it said, adding that the criminal investigation was confidential and would not result in the publication of a report that would be available to anyone other than the prosecuting authority.

On July 21 last year, UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2166, which called for an independent investigation into the downing of MH17 and for those responsible to be held to account.Members countries undertaking the independent criminal investigation into the downing of MH17, were also consulting closely with all members of the Security Council to seek their support to establish an independent tribunal to hold to account those responsible.

It said the independent air safety investigation had been conducted in full compliance with all International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines and Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention. On July 17 this year, the first anniversary of the downing of MH17, Ban welcomed the progress made by the independent international investigation in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2166.

Wisma Putra said the objective of the air safety investigation was to determine the cause of the MH17 incident and not intended to identify whether any crimes had been committed or those responsible.

Alongside the air safety investigation, it said the law enforcement authorities of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine had been cooperating in a joint investigation team to conduct a criminal investigation.

“This investigation has been equally comprehensive and independent, carried out in accordance with the highest international standards,” it said. On July 17 last year, the Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board, including 43 Malaysians.- BERNAMA

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