NL could push for war crime charges in MH17 crash

The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site in Ukraine. Source: Twitter/ @mashable. (The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site in Ukraine. Source: Twitter/ @mashable)

As investigations into the flight MH17 crash in Ukraine are underway, the Dutch Public Prosecution Authority (OM) is suspecting murder, war crimes and the intention of making a plane crash, the NRC reports. 

Since 2003, the OM has been able to prosecute anyone, including foreign nationals, for perpetrating war crimes against a Dutch national. This is possible due to the International crimes law. According to professor of International Law, William Schabas, the event in Ukraine may be considered a war crime if it appears that flight MH17 was indeed shot down.

Public Prosecuter Thijs Berger of the international crimes department of the OM has been in Kiev since Saturday for discussions with the local authorities.

Ukraine may be able to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Den Haag to prosecute suspects, even though it is not a party with the ICC. Ukraine has asked the court to investigate possible war crimes perpetrated under the regime of president Viktor Yanukovych, which spans from the period of 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014.

Geert-Jan Knoops, lawyer and professor of International Law, believes that The Netherlands has the power to ask the ICC together with Ukraine for expansion of the investigation to the 17th of July, which is the day that the MH17 crashed, or was shot down.