As reported by Censor.NET citing The Guardian, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been gathering evidence for a possible criminal trial and is due to present its interim findings on Wednesday. Dutch police and prosecutors have been working with judicial colleagues from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.
The report follows an earlier inquiry by the Dutch Safety Board. It concluded a missile fired by a sophisticated Buk surface-to-air system struck the Malaysia Airlines aircraft as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It exploded next to the cockpit. All 298 people on board were killed.
According to diplomatic sources, international investigators will give a precise Google location showing that the Buk was located in separatist-controlled territory, near the village of Snizhne.
The JIT has been working on the scenario that the Buk came from the Kremlin's 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in the Russian city of Kursk. It was smuggled across the Russian-Ukrainian border in July 2014 and spotted leaving rebel-held Donetsk on a low-loader, heading east.
After arriving in Snizhne on the afternoon of 17 July, the Buk was offloaded and driven to a field south of town, investigators believe. It shot down MH17 in error, believing it to be a Ukrainian army transport plane. The Buk was smuggled back across the Russian border early the next day.
The JIT's findings are based on US satellite data, and multiple sightings of the Buk as it trundled through rebel-held areas. In a Russian-language video investigators urged witnesses who may have seen it to come forward.
"There is a wide presumption in diplomatic circles that this report will point to the involvement of pro-Russian rebels or Russia," said Robert van de Roer, a Dutch diplomatic expert and commentator. "It will cause high waves."
According to Van de Roer, investigators have not yet been able to identify "the guy who pushed the button" on the Buk missile. They do know the names of about 20 Russian servicemen from the 53rd brigade in Kursk who could form a "broad circle of suspects," he said.
The names came from the British-led online investigation team Bellingcat. "I'm told by experts you need at least three or four men to handle a Buk," Van de Roer added.
Van de Roer said he was pessimistic that Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, would cooperate with the tribunal or hand over possible suspects to the Hague for trial. He also described the Dutch government's approach as "bureaucratic and legalistic".
"My fear is that this will end up as a kind of Lockerbie," he said, adding that in the case of the 1988 Pan Am bombing it was never known if Abdelbaset al-Megrahi - convicted in 2001 - was the only perpetrator.
Censor.NET has been reporting about the investigation of the crash investigation progress 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 employing 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 relatives of those killed in the Malaysian Boeing MH17. The lawsuit names Putin as accused defendant and demands $10 million for each killed passenger.
On July 17, 2016 President Poroshenko said that Russia was the only country inhibiting the investigation into the MH-17 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.
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