We demand that the suspects Guirkin, Dubinsky, Poulatov and Khartchenko, each for their responsibility in the crash of a plane which caused the death and murder of 298 people, be sentenced to life imprisonment, the maximum penalty, prosecutor Manon Ridderbeks told judges.
The Russians Sergei Dubinsky, Igor Guirkin and Oleg Poulatov, as well as the Ukrainian Leonid Khartchenko, four senior officers of the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, are accused of having shot down flight MH17 with a BUK surface-to-air missile. .
None of the suspects attended the trial, which started in March 2020 in the Netherlands.
Prosecutors said the four played a central role in delivering a BUK anti-aircraft battery from Russia, presumably intended to strike a Ukrainian warplane.
If that was their intention, it does not change the accusation of making it a criminal act., underlined the prosecutors.
The law does not distinguish between military and civilian aircraft, they insisted.
The suspects used the BUK missile to serve their
own military interests, prosecutors said earlier this week.
They didn’t press the button themselves, but […] used it for their armed struggle to destroy a plane. They knew
that civilian planes flew over the combat zone on a daily basisprosecutors added on Wednesday.
Relatives of the victims applauded the sentences requested.
This is what we were hoping for, Piet Ploeg, 71, president of the Vliegramp MH17 Foundation, told AFP, who lost his brother, sister-in-law and nephew in the crash.
children on board […] It’s horrible […] I am very happy with today’s result “,” text “:” There were 80 children on board […] It’s horrible […] I am very happy with today’s result “}}”>There were 80 children on board […] It’s horrible […] I am very happy with today’s resultAnton Kotte, who has lost his son, daughter-in-law and grandson, told reporters.
The hearings come against a backdrop of growing Russian-Western tensions around Ukraine. Americans and Europeans accuse Moscow of preparing a military offensive there.
An international team of investigators claims that the plane was shot down over the area of armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists, by a missile sent from a Russian military base, possibly in order to fight against Ukrainian forces. Moscow has always denied any involvement.
Prosecutors deplored the absence of the suspects, testifying according to them to their
contempt vis-à-vis the relatives of the victims, and said they feared
repetition of violent acts from them.
Kiev has been fighting a pro-Moscow insurgency in two breakaway regions bordering Russia since 2014, when the Kremlin annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
The most famous suspect, Igor Guirkine, 49, nicknamed
Shooter), was one of the main separatist commanders at the start of the conflict.
Sergei Dubinsky, 57, is said to be linked to Russian military intelligence. Oleg Poulatov, 53, is a former member of the Russian special forces and deputy to Mr. Dubinsky. Leonid Khartchenko, 48, is said to have led a separatist unit in eastern Ukraine.
The rebels did not shoot down the Boeing, maintained Mr. Guirkine with the Russian press agency Interfax after the indictment, saying
not at all surprised by the penalties requested.
If they could have sentenced me to death they would have, he added.
Shortly before the announcement of the requisitions, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov accused on the RT channel the United States of
Two weights, two measures, by maintaining that Washington had asked in spring 2014 to its airlines not to fly over Russian territory near the Ukrainian border, where Moscow was conducting military maneuvers.
But in July 2014, when a real war was going on in the Donbass, no one closed the airspace, he stressed.
The verdict of the Schiphol court, near Amsterdam, located not far from the airport from where the tragically fated Boeing took off on July 17, 2014, is not expected before the end of 2022. The trial will continue in March 2022, with the defense brief.
Lawyers for Mr Poulatov, who denies any involvement in the crash, demand the acquittal and said the evidence presented is
incomplete, Dutch media reported.