About the MH17 trial

Overview of the background information about the MH17 trial

Current situation

The Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine are working together to conduct the international criminal investigation of the cause of the crash of flight MH17 and those thought to be responsible. On the basis of the criminal investigation the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) took the decision to prosecute the suspects. The next step is for the Public Prosecution Service to serve writs of summons on the persons thought to be responsible for the crash of flight MH17. The writs of summons will state the names of the suspects and the offences with which they are charged.

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Background to the MH17 trial

On 17 July 2014 flight MH17, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER travelling from Amsterdam (the Netherlands) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), crashed in a village in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

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Preliminary investigation by the Joint Investigation Team

Several countries wanted to work together to conduct a criminal investigation into the crash. To this end a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was established on 7 August 2014. Under the leadership of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM), criminal investigation authorities from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine, the country where flight MH17 crashed, work together in the JIT.

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New legislation

Legislation was drafted to make it possible to try the suspects in the Netherlands. The bills were approved by all parties in the Senate on 10 July 2018.

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The decision to prosecute

On 19 June 2019 the Public Prosecution Service announced that, on the basis of the evidence gathered by the JIT, it had decided to prosecute the individuals thought to be responsible for the crash of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

Stages of the MH17 trial

Criminal cases are tried in accordance with the law of criminal procedure. The timeline shows all possible stages of the MH17 trial.

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Criminal proceedings in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a democratic state governed by the rule of law. One of the implications of this is that criminal offences affect all of society, not just the perpetrator and the victim. This is why individuals who are charged with a criminal offence are prosecuted by the authorities in public proceedings.

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