KUALA LUMPUR: The Dutch-led joint investigation team (JIT) has not produced any solid evidence to show that the four suspects it has named are guilty of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy, said the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF).
In a joint statement, both JUST and PGPF shared Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s scepticism about Russia’s culpability in the shooting down of MH17 on July 17, 2014.
“Dr Mahathir is right when he argues that from the very beginning there was a political script in place to put the blame upon Russia,” the statement said.
On Wednesday, the JIT announced the alleged involvement of Russian servicemen in the MH17 tragedy.
The international investigators charged four people – three Russians and a Ukrainian – with murder over the 2014 shooting down of MH17 in eastern Ukraine in which 298 people were killed.
In his response, Mahathir, who asked for proof and not just hearsay in the investigation, said Malaysia was unhappy with the investigation into the incident as from the very beginning, it had turned into a political issue.
JUST and PGPF said together with a number of independent investigators, they had raised fundamental questions about the investigation since 2014.
“They have asked how the investigation could be credible when Ukraine was in the team because it was alleged that Ukraine was complicit in the attack on MH17.
“To make it worse, the four initial members of the JIT, namely, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands and Ukraine – Malaysia was deliberately excluded in the early stages of the investigation – came to an agreement on Aug 8 2014 that the results of the investigation can only be announced if they have the consent of all four parties.
“Making unanimity among the four a condition in effect gave Ukraine an effective veto over the decision-making process,” the statement said.
JUST and PGFP pointed out they were also aware that throughout the investigation, attempts to obtain independently verifiable data had not been successful.
These include certified copies of communications between Ukrainian air traffic controllers and the flight crew on board the ill-fated airline and the Comma Separated Variable (CSV) file from the plane’s flight data recorder.
“This lack of transparency has created serious doubts about the integrity of the investigation.
“It is alleged that as a result of the biased investigation, high-quality items of evidence available were not subjected to thorough analysis and evaluation,” it said.
The joint statement said that arresting and charging individuals on the back of such a lopsided investigation does not do justice to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy, and hence does not guarantee closure.
Flight MH17 was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was shot down on July 17, 2014. It crashed near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40km from the Russian border.
The incident killed all 298 people on board, including 15 crew members.