Dutch Safety Board's final report presentation on MH17 investigation (Photo: NL Times/Zachary Newmark) - Credit: Dutch Safety Board's final report presentation on MH17 investigation (Photo: NL Times/Zachary Newmark)
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 - 16:04
Prosecutor: MH17 report in line with current criminal investigation findings
The Public Prosecutor has confirmed that the Dutch Safety Board's conclusion that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile fired from a BUK-system is in line with what the findings of the criminal investigation indicates is the most likely scenario. The criminal investigation is being conducted by the Joint Investigation Team - comprised of the Dutch National Police and Public Prosecutor along with Australia, Malaysia, Ukraine and Belgium. The ultimate goal for this investigation is to identify the perpetrators behind the disaster and prosecute them. Remarkably, the Public Prosecutor called the disaster an "attack", while Prime Minister Mark Rutte was very careful not to do so in his reaction. The Prosecutor also stated that "when it comes to the area from which the BUK was fired, the findings of the criminal investigation to date are in the same direction as the Safety Board's conclusions". Though no further details on what the findings are were given. The Safety Board could say nothing about the missile launch site other than it happened in an area of 320 square kilometers in eastern Ukraine. According to the Prosecutor, this is a very intensive and time consuming investigation. "The JIT has to work with legally established procedures to arrive at conclusive and convincing evidence that can stand before a judge", the Public Prosecutor writes in the official reaction. This means that the team has to absolutely rule out any other scenario without any doubt as well as link it with potential suspects. The most time-consuming aspects are taking witness statements and big data analysis, especially difficult seeing as the area concerned is in the middle of a conflict zone.Finding who played what role in the disaster and what their motive was is one of the most important goals of this investigation. And in this the team relies heavily on witness testimony. "It is not easy to find such witnesses and also finding the willing to make a statement. We are working on this daily. Both the investigation into the perpetrators and their eventual arrests can take time." This means that the criminal investigation into the MH17 disaster will still be ongoing next year. "The JIT remains motivated. Every day new steps are taken towards finding evidence. The JIT will keep working in full force on the investigation. Every effort should be made to do justice to the victims and their families." Other parts of the investigation, such as the examination of the wreckage that has been secured from the Ukraine so far, has been completed. Traces secured from the wreckage is now being investigated by experts.