Dutch fear MH17 attackers get "amnesty" in Ukraine accord

Negotiations in Minsk between Ukraine and Russia were facilitated by France and Germany (Russian Market/Twitter). Negotiations in Minsk between Ukraine and Russia were facilitated by France and Germany (Russian Market/Twitter)

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders is examining whether the cease-fire agreement for Ukraine does include amnesty for the perpetrators of the MH17 disaster. While the MH17 disaster is not specifically mentioned in the accord signed on Thursday, Dutch parliamentarians are urgently seeking clarification of the agreement's text and assurance that it will be able to persecute the perpetrators, reported nos.nl.

The agreement when translated includes a passage reading "Providing pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in specific parts of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine." The passage continues by urging the immediate release and exchange of all hostages.

"The Netherlands continues to demand that the perpetrators must be brought to justice through prosecution," Koenders said.

The survivors of the MH17 disaster have also expressed worry about the outcome of the negotiations. In a letter to Koenders, the victims say they are fearful that those responsible for shooting down the plane will avoid punishment. "It goes without saying that the survivor demands that those responsible be identified, prosecuted and punished", the letter read. The survivors also asked for clarification of the agreement. "Does that rule also cover the downing of flight MH17?" they wrote.

"We want to urgently know what this means for the investigation, since Ukraine is a party to both the Minsk agreement and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which investigates the attack on the MH17," CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt said.

The agreement in Minsk was finalised after negotiations between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is meeting with Merkel and Hollande at the European Summit in Brussels to discuss the issue.

The Minsk-2 agreement was signed by the Minsk Contact Group, which included representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the self-declared People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The Minsk negotiations did not go as far as negotiators intended, but culminated in an agreement of a cease-fire between all parties, withdrawal of weapons and special status for the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The military conflict will now also be officially transfered to the political plane. "The most important thing is that Moscow and Kiev have agreed to a ceasefire," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "Today's agreement is not a comprehensive solution, and, of course, not a breakthrough. But Minsk-2 after several weeks of violence may be a step that will lead us out of the spiral of military escalation of the conflict and will translate into political conflict," reported Ukrainian news source Korrespondent.