Law expert: Corrupt MH17 evidence will make prosecution difficult

Dutch Safety Board's final report presentation on MH17 investigation (Photo: NL Times/Zachary Newmark)Dutch Safety Board's final report presentation on MH17 investigation (Photo: NL Times/Zachary Newmark)

Criminal law expert Theo de Roos fears that the corruption scandals recently surrounding Ukrainian secret service SBU will make it more difficult to prosecute those responsible for the disaster with MH17. Much of the evidence in the criminal investigation comes from the SBU, the Telegraaf reports.

Evidence provided by the SBU includes wiretapped phone conversations between pro-Russian separatists in the war zone shortly before and after MH17 was shot down. The SBU was also heavily involved in securing human remains, wreckage and rocket parts in the disaster area.

"There is a lot of noise and that will almost certainly play a part in the criminal case" criminal law professor De Roos said to the newspaper. "That goes for the defense, but also for the judges, who will look extremely critically at all evidence." He believes that the Public Prosecutor should immediately start additional investigations into the integrity of all evidence, before it can be torn apart in court.

Members of the SBU made the news several times over the past years in connection with suspicion of corruption. Most recently the former head of the SBU, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, was connected to art stolen from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn in 2005, which recently surfaced in the hands of a militia group in the Ukraine. Last year the Finnish police also linked him to large-scale antique smuggling, according to the Telegraaf. And 22 SBU spies were sent to jail this year due to corruption and criminal practices.

The CDA is demanding answers from responsible Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice. The party calls the SBU scandals a great risk for the criminal investigation. "There is already little evidence", parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt said to the newspaper. "And what there is, is compromised to varying degrees. The evidence was collected in the area way too late and now it turns out also by people who are no good."