UNSC Resolution to Create MH17 Crash Tribunal May Not Yield Impartial Probe

© Sputnik / Andrei Stenin / Go to the mediabankСбор тел погибших на месте крушения малайзийского лайнера Boeing 777 в районе Шахтерска
Сбор тел погибших на месте крушения малайзийского лайнера Boeing 777 в районе Шахтерска - Sputnik International
The proposal submitted to the UN Security Council to create an international tribunal into the Malaysia Airlines MH17 2014 flight crash in eastern Ukraine triggered a controversial reaction of experts asked by Sputnik.

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Some experts claimed that the draft, submitted to the UNSC to create an international tribunal into the MH17 crash would not lead to an impartial investigation, others called it a logical step toward prosecuting those responsible for the tragedy.

On July 17, 2014, flight MH17 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it crashed in southeastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board died in the crash.

Independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine and Kiev forces have accused each other of causing the tragedy.

On Friday, a source in the UN Security Council told RIA Novosti that the Malaysia-proposed draft resolution to create an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the MH17 airplane in eastern Ukraine in 2014 would be discussed by the body next week.

Local workers transport a piece of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 wreckage at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 20, 2014 - Sputnik International
Malaysia Submits Draft Resolution to UNSC on Creation of MH17 Tribunal
According to the Russian envoy to the United Nations, the draft UN Security Council resolution fails to correctly classify the crash. Vitaly Churkin has urged waiting for the results of the Dutch Safety Board investigation, adding that international tribunals have never been created following civilian aircraft crashes.

Tribunal instead of investigation

According to some experts, the intentions behind the creation of the tribunal are politically-motivated and will disrupt the ongoing process of investigation.

David Swanson, co-founder of the WarIsACrime.org activist group, told Sputnik that the whole purpose of the tribunal is to fuel anti-Russian sentiment at the expense of objective conclusions of an investigation being carried out by Dutch authorities.

“I think it's a move to create a news story about a Russian veto,” Swanson said.

He doubted the transparency of a potential tribunal, arguing it would not be going forward if the United States believed it would lead to an open investigation.

According to the activist, the establishing of the tribunal might slow down public release of the report by the Dutch Safety Board, “that would aid those seeking to propagandize without evidence.”

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation New York Director Alice Slater labelled the motion by Malaysia to establish the tribunal “questionable and unprecedented.”

It looks suspicious, the activist pointed out, that prior to the Malaysian proposal to organize a tribunal, the Obama administration decided to upgrade Malaysia from the worst tier in the list of human trafficking centers to facilitate its participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with Asian nations.

“Part of the startling deal that Obama made with Malaysia, was to remove them a very negative classification they earned as a nation that unconscionably traded in slaves in order for them to be eligible to join the TPP where US Senate rules forbid slave-trading nations to participate,” she said.

According to a trade bill passed by US Congress in June, the countries with the worst human trafficking ranking according to the US State Department's classification cannot benefit from the fast-tracked trade deal.

Dutch and Malaysian experts visit site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane crash - Sputnik International
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Tribunal after investigation

Other experts consider setting up a tribunal a logical step toward prosecuting those responsible for the destruction of the airplane.

Dutch Senator Tiny Kox told Sputnik that a tribunal would be a next step to the Dutch Safety Board investigation, whose final report is expected to be made public in October 2015.

“It seems timely to prepare the follow-up of the report, including how to proceed with the criminal investigation and how to bring those involved in what has happened to the Court,” he said.

The Dutch lawmaker from the Unified Left Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called on Russia to consider its position regarding the proposed resolution on a very short notice to show it wants justice for victims and their relatives.

“If Russia is not in favor of a tribunal, it should come — in my opinion — with a viable alternative, given the most complex situation in Ukraine,” he stressed.

Desmond Ross, the head of Australian aviation security firm Desmond Ross & Associates, told Sputnik that an international tribunal would be a good way to start a criminal investigation into the plane crash.

“The current investigation is a formal air accident investigation being run by Holland. This does not, and cannot, attribute blame. It is intended entirely to determine the cause of the aircraft crash,” he pointed out.

He stressed that since the ongoing Dutch investigation "will not state anything about who shot the missile or weapons," it is the job for a different criminal investigation.

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Impartial inquiry first

The experts stressed the importance of an objective inquiry into the tragedy, whether conducted by a tribunal or Dutch authorities.

The transparency of the investigation must be ensured, David Swanson told Sputnik.

"The Dutch and the United States and the Ukrainians should make all data on the MH17 public. No good argument for secrecy has been offered," he pointed out.

He stressed that "evidence" claiming that Russia shot the plane down with a missile "has been exposed as sloppy forgeries."

"If there is new evidence, make it public,” he urged the investigators.

Peace Foundation New York's Alice Slater called for more transparency.

“We have had news reports that the 'black boxes' which record information from a plane’s cockpit, and are always searched for and examined to determine the cause of airplane crashes, were found by the Netherlands and taken to a laboratory in the UK, never to be heard about since,” she said.

American author and historian William Blum stressed that the body investigating the tragedy must be impartial, and comprise no NATO members, as their presence might influence the results.

According to a September 2014 preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board, MH17 broke up in the air after being hit by multiple high-energy objects from outside the aircraft.

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