MH 17: Malaysia And Netherlands Demand Access To Crash Site For Wreckage Recovery Towards A Broader Probe

By @diplomatist10 on
Vigil for Victims of MH 17
A family waits to place flowers at a vigil for victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Kuala Lumpur July 22, 2014. A train carrying the remains of some of the nearly 300 victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over Ukraine was heading for Ukrainian government territory on Tuesday as a separatist leader handed over the plane's black boxes to Malaysian experts. Reuters

Malaysia and Netherlands have reiterated the need for a broader probe to bring the perpetrators behind the downing of of the Malaysia Airlines owned MH 17 jet, shot down in July this year at the rebel territory in Eastern Ukraine and killed all the 298 people onboard.  

The issue got a fresh impetus when Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, visited Malyasia last November 5 and discussed the matter with Malaysian Prme Minister Najib Razak.  Both the leaders vowed to keep pressing for access to the crash site of the downed jet to ensure a fair investigation and find out those responsible for the tragedy, reports Agence France presse.

Hampered Probe

There are already calls from various quarters, to refer the case to the International Criminal Court as the probe stands hampered by the ongoing conflict in the area between the two factions of Ukraine. This makes access to the crash site difficult.

The two leaders in their meeting, discussed the developments after the Dutch-led primary investigation into the July disaster, which killed 193 Netherlands citizens.  Malaysia lost 44 of its citizens. Malaysia harbours the frustration that it got only a limited role in the initial investigation that looked into the causes of the mid air attack on the plane. That is Malaysia is pitching for a comprehensive investigation to book the real culprits.  

Culpability Unclear 

Talking to media in a joint briefing, the Malaysian PM said, the priority is to recover the wreckage, so that "experts can identify the cause and parties responsible for it". However, Dutch Prime Minister Mr. Rutte said culpability in the crash is looking too unclear. In the the past, Mr Rutte had criticised Russia for not cooperating with the probe, but this time, he refrained from making any harsh statements during the joint briefing.

There is still no final word as to what exactly caused the mid air crash and who was behind it. Many conflicting versions are floating. The Dutch investigators, in their initial report released last September, claimed that MH17 was hit by multiple high energy objects. Though it partially endorsed the missile theory, it did not pin point the responsibility on any one. 

Ukraine and the West affirm that the Boeing 777 was blown up in the sky by separatist fighters using a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia. But Moscow, on its part, stoutly denied it and blamed Ukraine forces of having used a fighter jet to shoot down the jet. Keeping the conflicting versions in mind, the Malaysian PM said, "Malaysia is committed to bring the perpetrators of MH17 to justice, and we will do everything to ensure that justice is done."

Najib also said that "we have preliminary knowledge of what took place but it has to be backed by solid evidence." But he refused to elaborate. The Malaysian PM said he and Mr Rutte "agreed that countries affected in the tragedy must work together" and "Malaysia would seek to be part of the criminal investigation team, which has been welcomed by Mr Rutte."

This was Rutte's first visit to Malaysia since he took office as the prime minister of Netherlands last Oct 14, 2010, reported New Straits Times. Interestingly, the Dutch prime Minister flew to Malaysia aboard MH19, the re-numbered former MH17 flight.  

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