MH17 relatives want to sue Ukraine for not closing airspace

Nearly three years after the MH17 disaster, relatives of the victims are looking into possibilities of suing the Ukraine for not closing its airspace while it was clearly not safe. By failing to close the airspace, the Ukraine is complicit in their loved ones' death, according to the relatives. They also hope that a conviction against the country would urge uther countries to close their airspace in unsafe situations, RTL Nieuws reports.

Thomas Schansman, who lost his son Quinn in the disaster, can't believe that passenger planes are still flying over conflict areas. "We can't get our loved ones back", he said to the broadcaster. "But I think we have a moral duty to fight for ourselves and every other person who gets into an airplane. It must be safe."

Schansman and a number of other MH17 relatives told RTL that they are considering joining a similar lawsuit in Germany. Aviation lawyer Elmar Giemulla filed a case against the Ukraine at the European Court of Human rights on behalf of four German relatives of MH17 victims. He is demanding that the Ukraine pays 300 million euros in compensation for not closing its airspace, something the Dutch Safety Board concluded should have been done in its extensive investigation into the disaster.

"I think the Ukraine should pay a million euros per victim", Giemulla said, according to the broadcaster. "By failing to close the airspace, the Ukraine earned money for the use of that airspace. That is about 300 million euros. A ruling sends a message not only to the Ukraine, but to all states: be careful. If you are not the boss in your own house, close your airspace."

Flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile system over Eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed. The Joint Investigation Team concluded that the missile was fired from a field controlled by pro-Russian separatists, and managed to track the missile system being transported from Russia to the field and back. 

 

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