Research: MH17 investigation initially chaotic, not well focused on diplomacy

The Dutch authorities' approach to the disaster of flight MH17 started out unnecessarily chaotic and complex. And the national organization for crisis management did not focus enough on cooperation with the involved organizations and the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, according to a review done by a team of researchers from the University of Twente.

The research was commissioned by the Research and Documentation Center and the Ministry of Security and Justice published the conclusions on Wednesday.

The researchers found that the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security focused too much on itself during the first days after the disaster. This resulted ministries' parts and services with expertise in the fields of international politics an conflict management only becoming part of the crisis team days after the disaster. After that the cooperation improved and "all parties could contribute".

The lack of cooperation also affected the victims' families and friends, sometimes even adding to their suffering, according to the report. Many of the survivors involved indicated that they sometimes received large amounts of information from the government and much of it was duplicates. The survivors also missed a formal confirmation of death for their loved ones and were affected by the many things that went wrong during the repatriation and identification of the victims and their belongings, according to the researchers.

The survivors did however experience the day of national mourning as a positive turning point in how the government supported them.

The researchers did find that the crisis management team paid enough attention to "international political sensitivities" after the disaster to make it possible for successful missions to the disaster area to be organized.

In the Dutch Safety Board's report on how the disaster happened, the board also criticized the government's crisis organization, stating that the organization was not functioning properly and the government agencies involved lacked direction.


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