MH17: Crash investigation only, no criminals indicted

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

The report on the MH17 investigation that the Dutch Safety Board will be presenting on Tuesday will focus solely on the facts of the disaster in detail, and not on the perpetrators. Finding the perpetrators is the task of the international criminal investigation, which is expected to be completed at the end of this year.

"The board was always looking at the question of what happened and what can learn from that, and not for who was to blame", Wim van der Weegen of the Safety Board said to Dutch newspaper AD. The results of the Safety Board's investigation may offer more insight on who is responsible for the disaster, however.

The results will build on the Board's which was published on September 9th last year. This interim report stated that the plane was pierced from the outside at high speed by "a large number of objects".

Since the interim report the Board has had access to a large amount of new information, such as the results of pathological examinations and the wreckage of the plane. The wreckage of the plane has been extensively studied and the cockpit has been reconstructed at airbase Gilze-Rijen. This reconstruction will be shown during the presentation on Tuesday. It will also become clear whether the board managed to gain access to American satellite images, according to the newspaper.

Investigations into aircraft disasters are subject to strict international regulations put down in the Chicago Treaty. The law states that testimony and data from black boxes cannot be used in a lawsuit to make those involved in the disaster free to talk to investigators without the threat of prosecution. Exceptions are cases of deadly intent, such as terrorism and murder. The MH17 disaster falls under these exceptions.

The Chicago Treaty also states that certain countries have to be involved in the investigation into aircraft disasters. This involves the country in which the aircraft is registered, the country involved in the construction of the aircraft, the construction of the engines, and the country in which the disaster happened. For the MH17 investigation, these countries are Malaysia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. The Treaty also states that a country should provide an investigator for the team if the board requires information from that country - in this case Australia and Russia. These countries are all allowed access to the report and to give an reaction on it, but according to the Board, have no decisive influence.

Russia has already announced that they have .

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