It was not possible for relatives, the press, the public and other interested parties to attend this hearing at the JCS or in the NBC in Nieuwegein. The parties to the proceedings were present in limited numbers only: one prosecutor on behalf of the prosecution and fewer counsel representing the defendant and the relatives. The hearing could, however, be viewed by livestream on this website.
Requests regarding further investigation
The prosecution had submitted various requests with respect to further investigation at the hearing on 9 and 10 March. The defence had stated that it had been unable to respond to those submissions to date as it had had insufficient time to prepare. The court agreed that that was the case and therefore postponed a decision on the prosecution’s requests until the defence had been able to respond. Therefore, the decision on those investigation-related requests would be made during the block of hearings beginning on 8 June. The defence would also be given the opportunity to make requests of the court at that juncture.
The court asked the prosecution to provide further information regarding its request that the reconstruction of the MH17 be inspected. It is not yet clear to the court why such an inspection is necessary.
The defence may request that the prosecution permit it to inspect documents that are not in the case file. Both the prosecution and the defence had asked the court to allow the investigating judge to make a decision in the event that the prosecution did not wish to permit the defence to inspect such documents and also that he make the decision on requests for translation of court documents. The court has agreed to this.
Counsel for the relatives
The court also ruled that counsel for the relatives must be given access to the summary reports. Counsel must not disseminate these documents beyond their team, but may discuss their content with the relatives.
Request for mutual legal assistance
The court also put a number of questions to the prosecution and counsel for the relatives. These included: had a response been received to a certain request for mutual legal assistance? Had other authorities already compensated the damage claimed?
Finally, the court also looked ahead. It requested that the defence inform the court and the prosecution, in advance of the hearing on 8 June 2020, whether it intended to raise preliminary objections or to present requests regarding investigation. In that block of hearings, a possible phased approach to the hearing of the merits of the case could be discussed. Such an approach might result in parts of the content of the case file already being discussed, for example, when preliminary objections were being heard.