Russian veto expected as Security Council votes on MH17

Ukraine and the West have suggested that separatists backed by Russia or Russian troops themselves were responsible for shooting down the plane in July 2014.


“We believe that a tribunal with the backing of the UN security council is mot likely to be able to deliver justice and we don’t want it politicised”.

Two weeks ago footage emerged showing the moment rebels arrived at the crash site in eastern Ukraine and are seen realising that the downed plane was civilian, not military. But Moscow has rejected accusations it supplied the rebels with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council after the vote that such a tribunal risked not being impartial and being subject to media “propaganda”, and he called past tribunals for the Rwanda genocide and the violence in the former Yugoslavia “expensive”.

Russian Federation had proposed its own rival draft resolution, which pushed for a greater United Nations role in an investigation into what caused the downing of the aircraft and demanded justice, but it would not have set up a tribunal.

In the days leading up to the vote, Moscow made it clear that it would veto the resolution. “This of course is regrettable”, Churkin said.

Russia, however, immediately supported an independent investigation and contributed satellite imagery and other data to support the investigation into the crash.

Eric de Brabandere, a professor of worldwide law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that “if the Security Council creates a tribunal, based on its Chapter 7 powers, which is Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, it is basically mandatory for all UN member states, which means that usually it also includes an obligation to cooperate with the court or tribunal”.

“In the frank and detailed conversation, Rutte called urgently on the Russian president to make a trial possible for those behind MH17 with a UN tribunal”, said a statement from Rutte’s office.

“I find it incomprehensible that a member of the Security Council obstructs justice in a tragedy that has affected so many”.


People talk near the remains of the fuselage of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove in Ukraine. The Dutch Safety Board’s final report is expected in October 2015.

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