On November 17, the District Court of The Hague delivered a verdict to two Russian nationals, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko, ruling that they were guilty of complicity in the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The defendants were given life sentences. A fourth defendant, Russian citizen Oleg Pulatov, was declared not guilty.
Both the proceedings and the outcome of the trial prove that the process was based on a political order to prop up the version of Russia’s responsibility for the tragedy.
Throughout the entire proceedings the court had been under unprecedented pressure from Dutch politicians, the Prosecutor’s Office and the media who were all trying to impose a politically motivated result on the hearings. It is also obvious that the Netherlands could not afford any verdict other than guilty at the national level since they had launched concurrent proceedings on the MH17 case in other platforms, and a ‘not guilty’ verdict would collapse the narrative of the collective platforms, including international jurisdictions. Objectivity and impartiality under these conditions were out of the question.
When determining the verdict, the court decided to ignore the fact that the conclusions of the Dutch prosecutors were based on evidence from anonymous witnesses whose identities had been classified, as well as questionable information and materials provided by an interested party – the Security Service of Ukraine, which had been repeatedly caught giving false and contradictory information.
In addition, the defence’s argument that there was no compelling evidence that MH17 was shot down by a Russian missile was ignored. Only the materials that supported the Hague-promoted version were analysed, while the documents, declassified by the Russian Defence Ministry, on transferring the missile to Ukraine, whose serial number was identified on the wreckage at the crash site, were brushed aside.
Images from US satellites taken on the day of the crash could have provided some clarity. However, Washington resolutely refused the judges’ requests to reveal the records or at least to let them look at them under special conditions.
It is still unclear what the most ardent accusers of Russia are concealing. The fact that this has never worried the judges is cause for sincere astonishment.
These court hearings in the Netherlands have every chance of becoming one of the most scandalous in justice history with its long list of irregularities, discrepancies and questionable arguments from prosecutors, which became the basis for the verdict.