Malaysia stands with MH17 probe team’s findings, says solicitor-general

The Russian government had made available the BUK Telar missile which was used to shoot down the aircraft.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia stands in agreement with the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 five years ago.

Solicitor-General III Mohd Hanafiah Zakaria, who is a member of the JIT, reiterated the government’s commitment in the investigating team in seeking justice for the victims.

He stated that as members of the team, the findings are based on extensive investigations and legal research.

“The objective of the JIT is to complete investigations, gather evidence or witnesses for the purpose of prosecuting the wrongdoers.

“Malaysia’s stand is to go by the rule of law and due process. So we are with JIT with regard to the findings,” he said at a press conference by the JIT in Nieuwegein, Netherlands, today.

Hanafiah was responding to a question by a reporter on the country’s stand on the findings, considering how the government had been very critical of evidence towards Russia.

Hanafiah’s response is particularly telling, considering Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously stated that it wanted strong evidence to show Russia was responsible for the tragedy in 2014, expressing doubts over Russia’s involvement.

Solicitor-General III Mohd Hanafiah Zakaria.

The Dutch and Australian governments had in the past said that they hold Russia legally responsible.

At the press conference today, Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said that in their investigations, they have established the involvement of the Russian Federation when it comes to the downing of the flight.

Reuters directly quoted him as saying: “We have evidence showing that Russia provided the missile launcher.”

He said the Russian government had made available the BUK Telar missile, which was used to shoot down the aircraft, and that “we have all the materials that can substantiate that”.

“It also means, if you look back, you can establish that, after July 17, 2014, the Russian Federation has not disclosed anything about what happened.

“It is a slap in the face of all the relatives of the victims and the bereaved.

“We call on them to start cooperating and tell us what happened,” he said in response to a question how investigators were going to prove Russia’s involvement, as it has not been able to do so convincingly.

Four suspects have been named as those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 five years ago.

The suspects were named as Igor Girkin, a former colonel of the Russian Federal Security Service; Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, who worked for the Russian Military Intelligence Service; and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian former commander.

Flight MH17, which departed from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, on its way to Kuala Lumpur, was shot before crashing near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40km from the Russian border on July 17, 2014.

The incident killed 298 people, including 15 crew members.

The Dutch-led JIT said the team was convinced that a BUK Telar missile was used to down MH17, and that it originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (53rd Brigade), which is a unit of the Russian Army in Kursk in the Russian Federation.