Dutch PM pleased that MH17 perpetrators will be tried in NL: "Next step" towards the truth

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is pleased that those responsible for downing flight MH17 will be prosecuted in the Netherlands, calling the decision the "next step on the way to finding the truth." The Dutch government is also signing a treaty with the Ukraine on Friday that will allow for prosecution on behalf of all 298 victims, not only the 196 Dutch, AD reports. 

On Facebook the Rutte emphasized that finding and prosecuting those responsible for the disaster remains a priority for the Dutch government. The MH17 investigation is a long process, he said. "But progress is being made step by step and we are arriving in a phase in which clarification is needed about the legal framework in which prosecution can take place. It is therefore good that the countries involved jointly decided that the prosecution and trial of the suspects will happen in the Netherlands, embedded in international cooperation and support."

Ministers Stef Blok of Security and Justice and Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs informed the Tweede Kamer about the treaty with the Ukraine on Wednesday. The treaty also includes arrangements on possibly questioning suspects through a video connection and the transfer of carrying out possible prison sentences. 

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will receive the treaty immediately after it was signed.

The five countries in the Joint Investigation Team - Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine - will also sign a Memoranda of Understanding, in which the give both political and financial support to the prosecution of the perpetrators. This Memoranda is expected to be signed before the end of the year. 

Blok and Koenders called the decision to prosecute the perpetrators in the Netherlands an important step. "All JIT countries have indicated full confidence in the Dutch legal system", they wrote in their letter to the Kamer. "The Dutch legal system has an excellent reputation. Prosecution can take place here within existing and proven frameworks. In addition, the position of survivors is well regulated in the Netherlands within the process."

The relatives of the MH17 victims are satisfied. "It is a good feeling that something is happening, that the case is not standing still", Evert van Zijtveld, chairman of the foundation Vliegramp MH17, said to AD. "The people who shot down flight MH17 must appear in court and be tried. That is what it is about. That outcome is the most important to us."