KUALA LUMPUR,Sept 29 – Malaysia could opt for the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the prosecution of the perpetrators who fired the BUK missile that downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine two years ago.
Lawyer Darryl Goon said this is necessary as the shooting incident occurred over foreign airspace, where Malaysia has no criminal jurisdiction.
Goon was commenting on the announcement by Dutch-led prosecutors two days ago on their findings that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia on July 17, 2014.
Based on evidence collected by the joint investigation team(JIT), the investigators said that “it may be concluded MH17 was shot down by a 9M38 missile launched by a Buk, brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation, and that after launch was subsequently returned to the Russian Federation.”
Goon clarified however that any successful prosecution of the perpetrators would depend on whether Russia and Ukraine are signatories to the Rome Statute, the 124-state treaty that brought the ICC into existence in 2002.
Russia, which is suspected of involvement in the arming of the rebels that launched the missile, has dismissed the Dutch-led prosecutors’ findings.
Another lawyer, Shailender Bhar, noted that the authorities must specifically identity the perpetrators who fired the BUK missile to facilitate criminal prosecution over the tragedy.
He said this is an important consideration in not only the country’s bid to bring to book the people who shot down the airline, but also to pave the way for possible lawsuits against the perpetrators.
“Who are these rebels? We do not know. There may be many separatist groups(involved in the civil war in Ukraine),” he said.
Shailender said that he would be taking instructions from his clients on the next course of action following release of the Dutch-led investigators’ findings.
“We do not know who to sue,” said Shailender.
He added though that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bid to get consensus from other nations, including ones whose passengers perished in the tragedy, would have an impact on the legal course Malaysia could take to prosecute the perpetrators.
He was referring to Najib’s vow yesterday that Malaysia would ensure the culprits are punished.
He conceded that the Dutch investigators may have not released all findings are they are still investigating the matter.