"I want justice for my daughters" said father of girls killed on MH17
Peter van der Meer wants to fight for justice on behalf of his three children who died, he stated Monday during the court case into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. "They were only seven, ten and twelve years old. I have no future with my daughters, only memories," he said in a courtroom in The Hague.
Van der Meer always did fun things with Sophie, Fleur and Bente, he described Monday. "I coached them, made pigtails in their hair and taught them to sail. But I lost everything in one fell swoop." His daughters were on the plane with their mother. "What stings most is that I don't know exactly what happened and why. I want justice and I want my daughters to never be forgotten."
The father went through hell and found only small bright spots, he said. Like when he learned that his children's bodies had been identified and he was allowed to come and say goodbye. "The body of Bente, the youngest, was most intact. My mother said she had fluttered down like a butterfly."
Van der Meer is still often confronted with his loss, such as when he sees children cycling to school with their parents. "I can never do that again." The man is one of about ninety surviving family members who will speak at the court. The court has allotted three weeks for them to speak.
James Rizk, an Australian in his twenties, lost both of his parents on the Boeing passenger jet. He also described via video link the traumatic experiences he has had since the downing of the flight. "I had to donate DNA countless times, and was told that only parts of my parents' bodies might be recovered."
That scenario became a reality for Jaap van Keulen, who lost his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. "Sixteen times we received an identification message, a total of 220 pieces of their bodies have been found. We do not know where the rest has gone."
MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Investigations have shown that this was done with a Buk missile, likely by pro-Russian separatists who were unaware that it was a passenger flight. All 298 people on board were killed. Among them were almost two hundred Dutch people.
The Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting four men, three Russians and a Ukrainian, for their alleged involvement in the disaster. These are rebel leader Igor Girkin, his right-hand man Sergey Dubinsky, his assistant Oleg Pulatov and field commander Leonid Kharchenko.
Only Pulatov is being represented by attorneys. The others are being tried in absentia abstentia.
Reporting by ANP.