NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands -- Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia.
In the Joint Investigation Team, Dutch police and judicial officials have been working with counterparts from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, seeking to gather the best possible evidence for use in prosecution of the perpetrators.
[read more]They have faced extraordinary challenges: the crime scene in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk oblast where the plane crashed on July 17, 2014, killing all aboard, was located in an active war zone, and during the days following the crash pro-Kremlin militants limited access to the site.
Eleven containers crammed with debris from the jetliner were ultimately brought to the Netherlands. A research team took soil samples in eastern Ukraine and established the location of cellphone towers and the layout of the local telephone network.
Forensic samples were taken from passengers’ and crew members’ bodies and luggage, and satellite data and communications intercepts were scrutinized. The team also appealed for information from witnesses who may have seen the missile launch.Тhe joint team had obtained ... file containing “primary data,” recorded by a mobile radar unit in Ukraine, that detected Flight 17 and gave a “complete” picture of the incident.
Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police:
“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,”
A prosecutor speaking for the JIT said there was enough evidence to establish a “solid criminal file.”
The report largely confirmed the already widely documented Russian government role not only in the deployment of the missile system, called a Buk, or SA-11, but the subsequent cover up, which continues to this day.[read more]
The report by a team of prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine was significant for applying standards of evidence admissible in court, while still building a case directly implicating Russia, and is likely to open a long diplomatic and legal struggle over the tragedy.
The Dutch Safety Board determined in October that the plane had been shot down by a missile fired from a Buk surface-to-air system.
The report of the Joint Investigation Team, led by the Netherlands’ chief public prosecutor, Fred Westerbeke, corroborated that finding.
With meticulous detail, working with cellphone records, intercepted telephone calls between rebel leaders, photos and video, analysed and authenticated, social media, witness accounts, forensic examinations, witness statements, satellite images, radar data, etc.. the investigators did... provide a timeline leading up to the destruction of the plane.
First, in intercepted telephone conversations from the evening before the attack..
Second, the investigation found that a convoy of trucks brought the missile system, along with a large military vehicle that is used to launch the missiles, from the Russian border to the spot from which the missile was launched. The Buk that came from Russian territory into eastern Ukraine was later transported on a white Volvo truck. Witnesses, photographs and video show it escorted by several other vehicles and by “armed men in uniform”
Third, the inquiry identified a patch of farmland where the missile was launched, about eight miles southeast from where the plane crashed.
The missile was fired from an arable field 6km south of the town of Snizhne, an area was under the control of pro-Russia fighters. Witnesses at the launch site near the village of Pervomaiskyi reported hearing “a very loud noise” and “a high whistling sound”. They also saw a plume of smoke.
The investigators said they had demonstrated that a ground-based air defence system downed the Boeing 777. They compared pieces of the Buk retrieved from the crash site with various types of missile from the 9M38 series. They also exploded a missile in a controlled test in Finland.
Finally, the investigation pieced together what it said was the path the missile system took on its way back to the Russian border.
There were 100 people of interest identified by the investigation (who can be linked to the downing of MH17 or the transport of the Buk.). The inquiry did not name individual culprits..
Investigators are now examining who gave the order to smuggle the Buk system into Ukraine, and who gave the order to shoot down MH17.
It seems highly unlikely Moscow would allow suspects to be extradited from Russia to stand trial. It is also unclear where a possible trial would take place, though the international criminal court in The Hague is the obvious choice.
Исследования международной комиссии пришли к такому же заключению, как и "добровольческое" расследование команды Bellingcat:
The JIT’s interim report is a vindication for the British-led online investigation team Bellingcat. It correctly identified the field from which the missile was fired. On the basis of social media posts it traced the Buk to Russia’s 53rd anti-aircraft unit, based in the city of Kursk. As a result Bellingcat has come under withering attack from Russian state media.
К очердным кремлевским вбросам, относятся так же, как и к предыдущим. За чистую монету их в состоянии принять только те, у кого голова забита кремлевской пропагандой.
Как кремль, так и сепаратисты в ответ на появление отчета Международной комиссии все отрицают в духе "ихтамнет" и "все вы врете!".
Остается надеяться, что будут найдены механизмы повлиять на грядущие оттуда же "ну и что" и "все равно вы нам ничего не сделаете, потому что мы можем первратить планету в ядерный пепел".