Fears Russia will veto UN tribunal as Julie Bishop pushes to bring MH17 perpetrators to justice

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IN PHOTO: Emergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. The Malaysian airliner Flight MH-17 was brought down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard and sharply raising the stakes in a conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels in which Russia and the West back opposing sides. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has vowed to bring to books  those responsible for shooting down the MH17 passenger aircraft last year. Ms. Julie Bishop is advocating for the formation of an international criminal tribunal by the UN Security Council (UNSC). The incident, which happened over Ukraine last year, resulted in 295 deaths, including 39 Australians.                                  

Joining Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine in the push, Ms. Bishop told The Advertiser that anyone opposing the formation of the UN Tribunal would be regarded as denying justice to the grieving families. The Foreign Minister flew to New York yesterday to attend the meeting with the United Nations Security Council, which is expected to cast its vote early Thursday morning (Australian time). Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, holds the power to veto the establishment of the tribunal.

“One year ago the UNSC unanimously demanded accountability for the downing of MH17,” said Ms. Bishop. “It is now time for the UNSC to take decisive action to ensure accountability and the delivery of justice for the victims and their loved ones.”

“This horrific incident has far reaching implications for the safety of all air travellers and security of the international community. The UNSC must send a strong message to the growing number of non-state actors who have the ability to target civilian aircraft that such attacks will not be tolerated. Ending impunity is critical to deterring future attacks.”

According to News Corp reports, Ms. Bishop has spoken to the grieving  families of many of the victims, noting that bringing the perpetrators to justice is necessary to give them a closure. She also said that it is the duty of the concerned authorities to complete the task and that she will not rest until she gives them the justice they deserve.

Russia Could Veto UN Tribunal

There are speculations that Russia backed the rebels who brought down MH17 and there are concerns that it would veto the formation of a criminal tribunal. However, if Russia merely abstains from voting, it is likely that the plan would go ahead. “A veto should not be used to walk away from holding those responsible to account for what was an atrocity. A veto should not be used to delay justice,” said Ms. Bishop in a statement.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that according to diplomatic observers, few of the 10 non-permanent members might oppose the establishment of the tribunal under the influence of Russia. While others seem more optimistic about the proposal, it would still be difficult to obtain all 15 votes of permanent and non-permanent members of the Council.

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