Netherlands holds Russia responsible for MH17 disaster

The Netherlands and Australia hold Russia accountable for "its share in the downing of flight MH17". Both countries informed Russia about this step, the Dutch government announced in a statement on Friday. 

This decision follows the Joint Investigation Team announcing on Thursday that the BUK missile system used to shoot down flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014, came from the 53rd Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces. 

"The downing of flight MH17 caused irreparable suffering", Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said in the statement. "The government always said: the truth about MH17 must be on the table and justice must prevail for the victims and their relatives. The Netherlands has the support of the international community in this. Based on the conclusions of the JIT, it is now certain for the Netherlands and Australia that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation with which flight MH17 was shot down. The government is now acting on this by formally holding Russia responsible."

Holding a state liable is a complex legal process that the Netherlands and Australia will now take on together. On Friday the two countries asked Russia for talks with the aim of "finding a solution that does justice to the enormous suffering and the damage caused by the downing of flight MH17". 

This step is separate from the criminal investigation into and the prosecution of the perpetrators behind the disaster. The Joint Investigation Team's investigation will continue unchanged.

"We demand that Russia take its responsibility and fully cooperate with the discovery of the truth and justice for the victims of flight MH17 and their relatives", Blok said.