‘Zero Possibility’ MH17 Verdict Could Have Been Anything Other Than Anti-Russia Show Trial: Analysts
19:28 GMT 17.11.2022 (Updated: 18:10 GMT 30.06.2023)
The Hague sentenced two Russian nationals and one Ukrainian to life in prison in absentia on Thursday for their alleged roles in the 2014 downing of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner in the Donbass. Moscow slammed the ruling, accusing the court of violating the principles of impartial justice for the sake of political expediency.
Thursday’s long-awaited Hague ruling
on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was a “foregone conclusion,” and the only decision to be expected from the court, given the politicized nature of the trial, and the geopolitical implications at stake, international legal experts, IR analysts and political commentators have told Sputnik.
“The verdict today was a foregone conclusion given the way the investigations were conducted, to exclude Russian testimony and without demanding that the USA share the intelligence from satellites that it said it possessed shortly after the event,” Gilbert Doctorow, an international relations analyst and specialist on Russian affairs, said.
Citing the MH17 incident as a “classic case of ‘false flag’ operations” by Kiev aimed at ramping up Western pressure against Moscow, Doctorow pointed out that unlike this week’s WW3 scare involving a Ukrainian air defense missile falling on Polish territory - which Kiev immediately blamed on Russia but the West surprisingly questioned, the US and its allies did not intervene in MH17 in 2014 to swat down Ukrainian claims.
“With MH17, the USA pointed the finger at Russia minutes after the crash, but then this was only a propaganda play in the Information Wars that had the objective of bringing Europe on board for severe sanctions against Russia. However, with the missile hitting Poland yesterday, first the Polish president and then Joe Biden said within hours that while a proper investigation was needed, the available intelligence on the trajectory of the missile excluded its being fired from Russia. Why this very different development of the case? Because there is a proxy war going on now and USA/NATO did not want an escalation to nuclear war through pushing a false flag story,” the observer suggested.
17 November 2022, 14:18 GMT
Political commentator and author Joe Quinn echoed Doctorow’s characterization of the verdict as a “foregone conclusion,” suggesting the Hague “was always going to find Russia guilty,” because that was “the premise of the investigation from the outset.”
“Russia wasn't allowed to take part because Russia was deemed guilty in advance of any investigation. In fact, within one day of the shooting down of MH17, Western media outlets were already declaring Russia guilty, with one notable UK tabloid declaring on its front page ‘Putin Killed My Baby!’ From there, the stage was set for both the Dutch Safety Board and the Joint Investigative Team to 'fix the facts around the policy' that Russian-backed separatists were to blame,” Quinn stressed.
The commentator suggested that “any sober analysis” of the JIT's findings would show that the investigation was slanted against these ‘Russian-backed separatists’ “and by extension [against] Russia,” to prove them guilty.
“To reach this conclusion they were required to avoid giving any serious credence to evidence presented by the Russian government. The JIT's final conclusions were primarily based on unnamed 'eyewitnesses' and 'insiders'. The credibility of the statements of these people has not been subject to impartial scrutiny,” Quinn said.
Asked why the US never bothered to release satellite data related to the MH17 crash which could prove Russia's innocence, the commentator emphasized that the US government “has a vested interest in withholding any and all information that would disprove” the ‘Russia did it’ thesis. “The same applies to the authorities in Kiev and Holland.”
Quinn is convinced that there was “zero possibility” for the verdict to be anything other than it was, since the destruction of MH17 was a “political event” – one “that occurred in the context of the ongoing geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the US, and more broadly 'East vs West'.”
Tiberio Graziani, chairman of Vision & Global Trends, a Rome-based geopolitical affairs think tank, expressed similar sentiments, saying that “given the current circumstances related to the crisis between the West and the Russian Federation,” Thursday’s verdict could not have been nonpolitical. “Russia was not allowed to participate in the trial in which it was directly accused, precisely because it was considered - a priori – guilty from the outset. We recall that the tragic event was used right from the start in the context of the long hybrid war that the West has waged since at least the early years of this century. Furthermore, in [this] specific case, the question of the insurance companies that will have to pay the damages must also be taken into account,” Graziani said.
17 November 2022, 16:41 GMT
‘Farce Masquerading as a Trial’
Christopher C. Black, an international criminal and human rights lawyer with over 20 years of experience covering war crimes and international relations under his belt, provided Sputnik with an in-depth account of the question marks surrounding the MH17 saga and, like his counterparts above, characterized Thursday’s verdict as the “conclusion of a farce masquerading as a trial.”
Black pointed out that from the outset, Washington and its allies blamed the Donbass republics for shooting down the passenger airliner, despite no evidence that the militias even had access to the sophisticated Buk anti-aircraft missiles allegedly used in the crime (but which Kiev did have).
“Also ignored was the eyewitness evidence of civilians on the ground who observed at least one Kiev Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet ascend and approach the civilian airliner and that, immediately afterwards, the plane crashed. There were reports as well that a Spanish air traffic controller in Kiev, known as Carlos, sent out messages on Twitter contemporaneous with the shoot down, using the Twitter address @Spainbuca, that he observed this on his radar and overheard the pilot’s conversations with Kiev air traffic control confirming that the Ukraine jet shot down the plane. There are later reports that a Ukrainian pilot admitted he flew the plane that shot it down. Both these men have since disappeared from view. Remarkably, the investigating body has never followed up these important facts,” Black emphasized.
16 November 2022, 13:05 GMT
The observer noted that the Hague has refused to follow up on any information related to the incident provided by the Russian government, and pointed out that since the plane was downed in Donbass territory, under international law, it should have been the Donetsk People’s Republic which led the investigation into the plane’s destruction, recognition or no recognition.
“But the Donetsk Republic was denied that role by the Kiev regime which claimed it took place in Ukraine territory and so assumed the role of investigator and then, under NATO, and especially American pressure, delegated the investigation to NATO, in the guise of the Dutch Safety Board, on the justification that the majority of the passengers were Dutch,” Black said.
“Since then, what should have been an open, international and objective investigation has descended into a burlesque of deception, fraud, and cover up of mass murder by the NATO powers. For whoever brought down that plane is guilty of mass murder. Since there is persuasive and compelling evidence that it was the forces of the Kiev regime that brought it down, and since they had to have done it either with the real time connivance or later assistance of the United States and its allies, then the governments of all those countries are guilty of a crime against humanity, a war crime. The motive for this crime is unclear. It is thought by some that the Kiev regime hoped to assassinate President Putin who, it was reported, was flying through the area on a similar plane, though the Russians have not confirmed this. The only other explanation is that the Kiev regime murdered all those people in order to discredit the Russian government. Both motives would be to the benefit of NATO in its on going aggression against Russia. As to possible Russian or Donbass motives, I can think of none,” the observer said.
Black stressed that the Dutch Safety Board’s 2015 report on the incident simply ignored any evidence pointing to Kiev’s responsibility for the plane’s destruction, such as the holes found in the airliner’s fuselage which “match the 30mm cannon shells used by the Kiev Sukhoi Su-25…seen approaching the plane.”
Black also pointed to the mysterious January 2017 detention by Dutch police of a pair of journalists and the seizure of their equipment, cameras, phones, notes and interview materials on MH17, characterizing that incident as a "blatant attempt by the Dutch government to suppress the evidence these journalists gathered."
"It is only reasonable to conclude that the NATO authorities are worried in case these journalists found evidence confirming NATO culpability for the incident. After all, [they] had written an article about it and announced that they were willing to share the information with the Dutch government. But apparently there is a fear in NATO that they might share too much with too many and so pounced on them and robbed them and us of the information they had before they could. The Dutch government has yet to offer a legal justification for this seizure,” the observer said.
The Hague District Court found
Russian nationals Igor Girkin (aka Igor Streklov) and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko guilty in the downing of MH17, sentencing them in absentia to life in jail. The men were also ordered to pay over 16 million euros in compensation to the families of the 298 victims of the plane crash. Moscow blasted
the "politicized" decision.
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 Flight MH17 went down in the eastern Donetsk People's Republic on July 17, 2014 while on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The plane's route over the Donbass was approved by Ukrainian authorities despite the fact that Kiev forces and local militias were engaged in fierce clashes in the area. All 298 people aboard the aircraft were killed.