A Dutch court has found three men guilty of murder for shooting down a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine back in 2014, which killed 298 people. The court found out that a Russian made missile which was supplied from and fired by Russia, brought down flight MH17.
Two of the men who were found guilty of this crime were Russians, and one of them was from Ukraine. These men were found guilty in absentia, and sentenced to life in jail. There was one more person who was accused of being involved in the crime, and he was the only person with legal representation. The missile attack was said to be one of the most notorious war crimes in Ukraine before it started getting hit with numerous attacks almost every day of their lives.
Since MH17 was a passenger flight, a lot lives were lost as a result of this attack. Individuals lost their children, family, friends and loved ones, and many relatives of these victims believe that, if the world had come together and taken a tougher stance against Russia eight years ago, the recent invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent geopolitical instability this invasion has caused could have been curbed.
In the ruling, the judges narrowed their verdict down to the fact that, it was an intentional action to bring down a plane, even though the three guilty men planned on shooting a military aircraft and not a civilian one.
The Attack on MH17
On the fateful day of July 17th 2014, 289 people including 80 children and 15 crew members, boarded a flight with the Malaysian Airlines, with flight number 17 to Kuala Lumpur at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport.
It was the early days of Russia’s attempts to control some parts of Ukraine, and the plane was flying 33, 000 feet above Ukraine. It was a relatively low- level conflict zone by then, but fighting had already begun in the air and a number of military planes had been shot down in the preceding months.
Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko, are the three men who have been found guilty of the attack on the MH17 flight in the year 2014. Igor Girkin was the military leader of the alleged Donetsk People’s Republic, and he was convicted of deploying the missile and seeking aid from Russia.
Sergei Dubinsky was found to have ordered and supervised the movement of the Buk missile launcher, which was used as the arm of weapon in the attack. The last man, Leonid Kharchenko, was found guilty of overseeing the Buk and acting on Dubsinky’s instructions as well. Oleg Pulatov was also acquitted by the judges, because he knew about the missile.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was flying 1,000 feet above restricted air zone, and at 13:20 GMT, the flight crew lost contact with traffic control. The plane had been shot down by the Russian Buk missile, and majority of the passengers on board came from the Netherlands, followed by Malaysia and Australia.
These people were either going on their dream holidays, a family reunion, a business trip among others, but in just a split second, all their plans were discarded and they were never able to make it to their various destinations.
Fast forward to 2022, and the invasion of Russia in the month of February, these series of unfortunate events opened up barely healed wounds of the friends and families of the victims that were lost in the MH17 flight attack.