MH17 perpetrators announced by end of year: Australian leader
Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, thinks it possible that the perpetrators behind the downing of flight MH17 can be identified and announced by the end of the year, she said to Australian television. In an interview with network ABC on Sunday, Bishop discussed the preliminary conclusions the Joint Investigation Team reached in the criminal investigation into the MH17 disaster as well as possible prosecution of the perpetrators. The JIT concluded that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing was shot down with a Russian made BUK missile from a field in Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. "The next step is to identify those responsible, the chain of command within the Russian military and all those who were involved in making the decision and actually operating that missile", Bishop said. "That is under way and I expect that by the end of the year, maybe early next year, the list of those that we believe should be held accountable will be confirmed." The investigators currently have about 100 persons of interest in the case. As for prosecution, Bishop believes that asking the UN Security Council again to investigate will not yield the best results as Russia will likely veto it again. According to her a more likely option is a so-called Lockerbie-style tribunal. The Lockerbie bombing refers to Pam Am flight 103 being blown up while flying over Scotland in 1988. A special Scottish court was set up in the Netherlands to facilitate the trial of the two Libyans suspected of being responsible for the disaster. According to ABN, such a special court would not need UN approval and will be set up through a treaty involving all countries that lost citizens in the disaster. Another option could be domestic prosecution in the Netherlands, according to Bishop. "I think a domestic-style tribunal would possibly be easier to establish, but you'd have to make sure that it had all the necessary powers", Bishop said to the network. "For example, extradition to be able to absolutely hold those responsible for this atrocity to account."