News World Bishop to canvas legal options over MH17

Bishop to canvas legal options over MH17

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Russia could face a barrage of legal action over the downing of flight MH17, which took 39 Australian lives.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will meet with her counterparts from Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine on Tuesday during the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting to discuss options.

One of the proposals is for a tribunal similar to that established to prosecute Libyan suspects over the 1998 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Scotland.

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Nations that lost some of the 298 passengers and crew in the Malaysia Airlines disaster over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 are also looking at launching separate prosecutions.

A report by the Dutch led-investigation team, set to be published on October 13, is understood to include evidence the plane was brought down by a Russian-made Buk missile fired from separatist territory in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has denied any involvement but in July used its veto power at the UN to block a resolution that would have formed a tribunal to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The tribunal would not require UN approval, and could be established through a treaty by all of the countries that lost citizens and residents.

A further option could be a fresh attempt at a UN Security Council resolution.

However, this is unlikely until after the investigation report is concluded.

It is understood several international lawyers are working on the options.

A draft report on the disaster has ruled out mechanical failure.

Ms Bishop said at the time of the resolution debate that Russia’s UNSC motion veto “compounded the atrocity”, but she remained determined to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Meanwhile in Kiev, Australia’s ambassador to Ukraine Doug Trappett has presented the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine with an award for its service to Australia.

A multi-national team was pulled together from several different monitoring teams in the east and west of Ukraine and arrived at the site within 24 hours of the plane having come down.

The team facilitated access for experts and first responders to the MH17 crash site, the repatriation of victims’ remains and personal belongings, and the recovery of the wreckage.


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