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 Dutch Public Prosecution Service says a lot remains unclear in radar images obtained from Russia under MH17 downing investigation

To date, a lot remains unclear regarding the radar images that were made available by the Russian Federation to the criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17.

As reported by Censor.NET citing the statement by Dutch Public Prosecution Service.

According to the law enforcement agency, this is mainly caused by the unusual and deviating format in which the radar images were provided. Therefore, it is still not possible to establish with certainty if these images are authentic and what these images are exactly showing.

The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) sent a first request for legal assistance to the Russian Federation back in October 2014. The agency requested all information which might have ben relevant for the investigation. In late September 2016, the Russian Federation released new radar images on television. These images were made available to the Dutch OM one month later.

Read more: Bellingcat identifies Russian GRU officer linked to MH17 downing. PHOTOS

As the OM already stated in September 2016 at the international presentation for the next of kin, the fact that the BUK missile is not visible on the radar images does not mean it was not there.

For the exchange of information air traffic control agencies often make use of the so called ASTERIX format, which has been developed by Eurocontrol. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) does not oblige the use of this format, but in a manual it does mention the ASTERIX format as a useful standard. The ASTERIX format is internationally accepted and is being used worldwide. Data transmitted in the ASTERIX format can be interpreted and verified for manipulation and mistakes in a reliable way. Publications on websites that are linked to the Russian authorities show that the Russian Federation also uses the ASTERIX format.

Read more: Retired Russian General Dubinsky involved in transportation of Buk missile launcher that downed MH17 flight, - Bellingcat

The Russian Federation has not provided the radar data using the ASTERIX format. In order to still be able to analyse the images, the Russian authorities had included separate software without a manual.

This software was written in Russian, so first of all it had to be translated. Subsequently, this software had to be tested both for its functionality and its reliability. Translating and getting familiar with the software were both time consuming. Only after that, the data could be analysed.

The transferred data show less than if the material would have been provided according to the ASTERIX format. In the meantime, the OM has hired external expertise.

Read more: Investigation established 100 persons having hand in MH17 crash, deputy prosecutor general says

The OM has informed the judicial authorities of the Russian Federation that an additional request for legal assistance will be sent. It will still take considerable time to analyse the radar images.

Censor.NET has been reporting about the investigation of the catastrophe of Boeing MH17 over Torez in the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014, and published exclusive photos of the hangar and the submunitions of Russian missile Buk-M1-2, featured in the criminal investigation. Prosecutor's Offices of the Netherlands and Australia have prepared convincing evidence. It was established that submunitions that hit the Boeing exactly match those from the warhead of the latest Russian anti-aircraft missile Buk-M1-2. The system was developed in 1997, put into service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 1998, and was never delivered to Ukraine. In addition, independent experts from Germany, England and Poland studied the fragments of the debris and concluded they were part of a Russian Buk missile. Modern chemical analysis has identified the composition of the metal and found parts of the glass and skin of the same downed Boeing that had been cut by these elements prior to hitting the people.

In November 2015, President Poroshenko visited the Netherlands and said that Ukraine was using its membership in the UN Security Council for investigation of the MH17 tragedy.

In May 2016, Australian law firm LHD filed a lawsuit against Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin to the European Court for Human Rights on behalf of the relatives of those killed in the downed aircraft. According to the lawyers, Putin comes as key culprit and has to pay $10 million for each killed passenger.

On July 17, 2016, President Poroshenko said that Russia was the only country inhibiting the investigation into the MH17 crash.

"Russia, abusing the right of veto, blocked the decision of the UN Security Council to establish the International Tribunal to investigate the downing of MH17, which is an indirect and logical proof of its involvement in the crime. In spite of this, we and our partners are working and doing everything necessary to ensure accountability of all those behind this tragedy," the head of state remarked.

On Sept. 28, 2016, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) came up with a report on the first official results of the probe into the MH17 tragedy.

The JIT said the plane was shot down with a Buk missile launched from a separatist-controlled area. The missile launcher arrived there from Russia, while some 100 people were involved in its transportation and shooting, the investigators note.
   
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