Dutch PM, Ministers praise MH17 investigation results

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice are all impressed with the Joint Investigation Team and the investigation results they presented on Wednesday regarding the downing of flight MH17. All three agree that this is an important step towards prosecuting the perpetrators. At a press conference on Wednesday the Joint Investigation Team - made up of prosecutors and police of the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine - revealed that flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile from a Ukrainian field controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The team also has convincing evidence to prove that the missile system wast transported from Russia to the field, and then back again after the passenger plane was shot down on July 17th, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. The JIT currently has 100 persons of interest in the investigation into who is responsible for the downing. A number of relatives and friends of the victims stated that they were pleased or at least satisfied with what the JIT concluded so far.

"The government greatly appreciates the work that has been done", Rutte said in a statement on Facebook. "The information can be taken to court, according to the investigating authorities. That is an important step towards the ultimate goal: finding and prosecuting the perpetrators. Step by step we are getting closer." The Prime Minister again expressed sympathies with the friends and families of the people killed in the disaster. "This investigation requires a lot of relatives. Answers can not come soon enough. Patience is a gigantic task if sadness, disbelief and anger can pop up regularly. We do not forget that for a moment. We stand beside the relatives. And we continue to fight that the those responsible will not escape unpunished." With the investigation into the perpetrators still ongoing, Rutte emphasized how important it is for the JIT to be able to do their job. "It is essential that the JIT can also take the next steps in the investigation completely independently. Without political interference, resolute and unflappable." He called on the support of the involved countries and international community.

Minister Koenders also noticed that support from the international community was a concern for many. "Today I received supportive responses from, among others, the EU, the UN, the US, the UK and Germany. Other countries and international organizations also showed today that they support and appreciate the JIT investigation", he said in a statement. "Thanks to the excellent and precise work of the Joint Investigation Team, we are today one step closer to the truth about the downing of flight MH17", Koenders continued. "But we are not there yet. Today was an important step. The prosecution continues to identify the perpetrators of the downing of MH17. The government remains committed to bring them to court." Koenders too called on the cooperation of all involved. "I strongly urge all countries, including Russia, to comply to UNSC Resolution 2166. This resolution states that the perpetrators must be held accountable and that all states must cooperate with this. No country is excluded."

Minister Van der Steur too called on Russia specifically to comply to the unanimously adopted UN resolution. According to him, the preliminary conclusions answered two very important questions. "It answers what the cause is, based on convincing evidence, according to the JIT. Secondly, what happened and where the missile system came from and where it's gone." Van der Steur finds it unwise to give his opinion on the evidence as he believes it is up to the JIT to continue the investigation and find the value of the evidence. "We are doing everything we can to find, prosecute and bring to justice the perpetrators of the MH17 disaster."