All Ukrainian prosecutors on MH17 investigation dismissed: Report

MH17 repatriation mission (Picture: Rijksoverheid)MH17 repatriation mission (Picture: Rijksoverheid)

All six prosecutors who formed part of the MH17 investigation in Ukraine have been transferred or dismissed, including the two who were part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating the plane crash, NRC reports. Ukraine is reorganizing its public prosecution office in the fight against corruption.

Five of the six prosecutors who formed the Ukrainian MH17 section were dismissed. The sixth, Oleh Peresada, is still involved in the investigation, but no longer a public prosecutor, according to the newspaper. A spokesperson for the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) told NRC that the Netherlands was assured that Peresada will remain connected to the JIT. "This guarantees the historical awareness of this investigation," the spokesperson said.

The dismissals are expected to be a blow for further investigation into the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight. The damage to the upcoming trial against the first four suspects in this case, which will start at the high security court at Schiphol on March 9th, will be limited as the prosecutors already completed their files, people involved told NRC. But the reorganization can be a problem for investigating new suspects. The prosecutors' successors will need time to get acquainted with the case. "Nobody knows the file we have built up over five years," one of the dismissed prosecutors said to the newspaper.

According to NRC, discussions with Ukrainian prosecutors show that the reorganization is "not fair and aimed at getting as many prosecutors to go as possible". So far 710 of the 1,339 prosecutors have disappeared, the newspaper writes.