Schiphol footage of MH17 victims released to relatives this week

Schiphol Airport Amsterdam memorial MH17
Flowers left at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in honor of the 298 people killed aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. 20 July 2014Roman Boed / Wikimedia Commons

Relatives of MH17 victims can view the final footage of their loved ones, recorded by security cameras at Schiphol Airport, from this week. How many relatives will actually do so, is not yet clear. Though according to the Ministry of Justice and Security, there is "certainly" interest to do so, RTL Nieuws reports.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014. All 298 people on board the plane were killed, including 196 Dutch. So far investigation revealed that the Boeing 777 was shot down by a BUK missile system, fired from a field in Ukraine that was under the control of pro-Russian separatists at the time. Investigators also managed to track the transport of the BUK missile from Russia to the field and back. 

The relatives who want to view this Schiphol footage will first need to sign a confidentiality agreement, in order to protect the privacy of other Schiphol travelers on the footage. They can then watch the footage and search out their loved ones. If they find their family members on the footage, they can take the footage home after the other people have been made unrecognizable. 

The question of whether or not to show this footage to MH17 victims' relatives has been playing for years. In 2015 the Public Prosecutor decided not to allow it, mainly due to privacy. The Prosecutor also pointed out that it would be almost impossible to check hours worth of footage from 34 cameras to identify passengers who were on the fatal flight.

According to Evert van Zijtveld, chairman of support group Vliegramp MH17, not all relatives will go to watch the footage. "Not everyone wants to or dares to. The confrontation remains intense", he said to RTL Nieuws. He will go to see if he can find footage of his children and in-laws who died in the crash. 

The Joint Investigation Team, made up of the five countries affected by this disaster, is still investigating who is responsible for shooting down MH17. Last year it was decided that the perpetrators will be prosecuted in the Netherlands and under Dutch law. This decision was ratified by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the JIT countries - the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine - in September.