90 surviving relatives to speak at MH17 trial in coming weeks
About 90 family members of people who died when flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, will be speaking at the trial against the first four men charged with involvement in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight. The court set three weeks aside for this purpose, starting on Monday, NOS reports.
Some of the relatives will be present in the courtroom and speak for themselves. There will also be video connections for relatives abroad who could not come to the Netherlands. Hundreds of others also wrote statements to be added to the criminal file and read in court. Some will show photos and videos of their loved ones, or bring a personal item to lend strength to their statement. The court gave permission for this.
"Many relatives consider this the last thing they can do for their loved one," lawyer Arlette Schijns said to NOS. Her office is representing 150 relatives. "They believe that the court and rest of the world must know what impact the disaster had.
Victim Support Netherlands helped relatives in writing statements where they needed it. In the first week of relatives giving having their say, a Victim Support employee will also speak on behalf of relatives from Australia and New Zealand who could not come to the Netherlands for various reasons, including the fact that parts of both countries are currently in coroanvirus lockdown.