The lawyers for relatives of victims who were killed during the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 informed the judges of the court on Monday that the families require compensation as recognition of the injustice that they suffered and also informed judges that Russian disinformation increases their sadness.
Indeed, Lawyer Arlette Schijns was talking about the appeal of the Dutch court in absentia of three Russians and a Ukrainian accused by crimes such as mass murder for their claimed involvement in the downing of MH17.
It should be noted that all 298 passengers and aircrew on the Boeing 777 that flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed when the plane was exploded in the sky on July 17, 2014, by a Buk weapon fired from territory controlled by pro-Russia insurgents.
The lawyer Schijns, who is representative of 450 relatives, and when she addressed the judges about legal questions associated with the right of families to claim damages, requested the trial to not lose eyesight of the suffering of the hundreds of people who lost their loved ones. She said: This is about individuals who were confronted six years ago with a terrible loss that continues to have an influence on their lives today.
Lawyers also said that 76 relatives have so far said they want to make a victim impact statement during the trial, and 316 have said they plan to apply for damages.
Moreover, Schijns added that the criminal trial is important for them because it will establish the facts of what happened on July 17, 2014. Who is responsible for it? What sentence they deserve. In other words, it’s about justice, fairness, crime, and punishment.
Rob Fredriksz, who lost his son Bryce and girlfriend of his son Daisy Oehlers agreed and said that he wasn’t being represented by Schijns. He also said outside court: It’s not about the money, it’s about the truth. That’s what we want.
Prosecutors claimed that the weapon that downed flight MH17 was trucked into Ukraine from a Russian military base while Russia has frequently denied its involvement. The lawyer Schijns also declared that obstruction and disinformation by Russian authorities are increasing the suffering of dead relatives. She informed the judges: We’re talking here about people of flesh and blood. In addition to the grief they face because of the loss of their dearest, they are additionally injured by Russia’s attitude.
In fact, and after a years-long international inquiry, prosecutors named last year four suspects which were Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko whereas any of them has come to the trial that began in March and is still at a preliminary stage, and just Pulatov is represented at the court by lawyers.
Schijns said the Dutch trial needs to prove that they have a right under Ukrainian law to claim damage payments and she said that the amount should do justice to their loss, adding: If we want compensation to be reasonable and a genuine symbol of the defendants shouldering responsibility for their own actions, then the compensation must reflect the seriousness and the importance of this crime and these consequences for the relatives. At the end of the hearing of Monday, the Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis postponed the trial until Sept. 28.