Relatives of MH17 victims prepare to hear painful details of their loved ones’ deaths as judges today summarise evidence of the disaster that claimed 298 lives

  • Judges on Monday will summarise evidence in the trial over flight’s downing 
  • Three Russians and a Ukrainian man are charged with murder for the 2014 crash
  • The Dutch trial is taking place in a high-security courtroom near Schiphol airport 
  • MH17 was shot down by a missile fired from pro-Russian-held territory in Ukraine
  • The Netherlands holds Russia responsible for the crash, it denies involvement

Relatives of those who died on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are preparing to hear painful details of their loved ones’ last moments today as the trial over the crash reaches a critical stage. 

Judges will summarise evidence of the 2014 disaster that claimed the lives of all 298 people on board. 

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels during fighting with Ukrainian government troops, international investigators say.

Two-thirds of those killed were Dutch nationals and the murder trial of three Russians and a Ukrainian man accused of having responsibility for the downing has been taking place at a high-security courtroom next to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

‘On the one hand we want to know exactly what happened, why it happened and who was responsible, but the price you pay for that is that there is also information released that could be shocking, Piet Ploeg, a spokesman for the relatives, said. 

Relatives of those who died on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are preparing to hear painful details of their loved ones’ last moments today as the trial over the crash reaches a critical stage. Pictured: The crash site [File photo]

Judges will summarise evidence of the 2014 disaster that claimed the lives of all 298 people on board. Pictured: A photo of Bryce Fredriksz and his girlfriend Daisy sits among 298 empty chairs opposite the Russian embassy in The Hague on March 8, 2020 [File photo]

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels during fighting with Ukrainian government troops, international investigators say. Pictured: Judges and lawyers view the reconstructed wreckage

Pictured: Piet Ploeg (centre) and Anton Kotte (right), relatives of those who died on MH17 walk in the Schiphol Judicial Complex on Monday

After years of collecting evidence, a team of international investigators concluded in May 2018 that the missile launcher used to shoot down the aircraft belonged to Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade. Pictured: Judges and lawyers view the reconstructed wreckage

‘Eventually that should lead to getting justice and justice includes at least that we have an independent court rule on who was responsible,’ he told Reuters news agency. 

Ploeg lost his brother, sister-in-law and nephew in the crash. 

After years of collecting evidence, a team of international investigators concluded in May 2018 that the missile launcher used to shoot down the aircraft belonged to Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade.  

The Dutch government holds Moscow responsible. Russia denies any involvement.

Prosecutors, who say the four defendants all held leading positions in pro-Russian militias operating in Ukraine, will present evidence and may call witnesses, court officials said. 

Two-thirds of those killed were Dutch nationals and the murder trial of three Russians and a Ukrainian man accused of having responsibility for the downing has been taking place at a high-security courtroom next to Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. Pictured: Dutch and Ukrainian officials hold a minute of silence in 2014 for the victims of the air crash ][File photo]

None of the defendants are in custody. One, Russian Oleg Pluatov, is represented in the proceedings and has said that he had no involvement in the crash.

The other three are being tried in absentia and have not appointed lawyers to represent them.

Prosecutors say the investigation into MH17 is still ongoing and they are looking at other possible suspects, including the people who manned the missile system and ordered its firing. 

After the prosecution presents its view on the judges’ summary of the case file on June 17 and 18, the defence will have an opportunity to respond. 

No date has yet been set for closing arguments, but the court said that victims’ families could address the judges directly about the impact of the crash on their lives in hearings in September.  

A spokesman for relatives said they wanted to know what had happened ‘but the price you pay for that is that there is also information released that could be shocking’. Pictured: Angela Rudhart-Dyczynski and Jerzy Dyczynski from Australia visit the crash site in 2014 where they lost their 25-year-old daughter Fatima [File photo]

Prosecutors, who say the four defendants all held leading positions in pro-Russian militias operating in Ukraine, will present evidence and may call witnesses, court officials said. Pictured: The crash site [File photo]

After the prosecution presents its view on the judges’ summary of the case file on June 17 and 18, the defence will have an opportunity to respond. Pictured: The crash site [File photo]

No date has yet been set for closing arguments, but the court said that victims’ families could address the judges directly about the impact of the crash on their lives in hearings in September. Pictured: The crash site [File photo]

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