Judge who tried to influence MH17 case with conspiracy theory resigns
A judge previously reprimanded by the Supreme Court for several attempts to influence the MH17 trial with a conspiracy theory has resigned, De Telegraaf reports. The court confirmed Judge Charlotte van Rijnberk’s resignation, according to the newspaper.
Van Rijnberk’s brother wrote a book about the downing of flight MH17, tilted Een valse vlag terreuraanslag, under the pseudonym Lodewijk van Maaseik. In the book, he claimed that the wrong people were on trial for downing the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane. He called the investigation “a cover-up created through tunnel vision or corruption” and said that Ukraine, not Russia shot down the plane. He wrote that the purpose of his book was to continue the trial with other prosecutors and against other suspects.
A month after publication, the author presented copies of the book with an accompanying letter to parliament and the court handling the MH17 trial, according to the Telegraaf. He wanted to give the books to the judges and prosecutors working on the case. Judge Van Rijnberk accompanied her brother.
A few months later, in February 2022, Van Rijnberk had the book delivered to the leader of the Public Prosecution Service’s investigation team. In an attached letter, she explained that the investigation into the downing of MH17 was not conducted with due care and that a different scenario occurred than the authorities assumed.
Due to that attempted influencing, Van Rijnberk was already not allowed to try criminal cases. She has now decided of her own accord to step down as a judge, the court told De Telegraaf.
In November 2022, the court in The Hague sentenced three men, two Russians and a Ukrainian, to life in prison for their roles in downing flight MH17. The court considered it proven that they played a key role in delivering the BUK missile system that shot down the plane. A fourth suspect was acquitted.