Courts in the Netherlands will close their doors from 17 March 2020 to prevent the spread of the corona virus. In principle, cases will not be held in court until 6 April 2020. A limited number of cases will, however, continue to be dealt with in court, including the MH17 criminal proceedings.
On 23 March 2020 at 10.00 a.m. in the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS), the District Court of The Hague will issue its decisions on the applications and requests that were presented to it on 9 and 10 March. Given the measures taken to prevent the spread of the corona virus, no other matters will be addressed on 23 March. After announcing its decisions, the court is expected to suspend hearing of the case until 8 June 8 2020 at 10.00 a.m.
It is 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 will be present in limited numbers only: one prosecutor on behalf of the prosecution and fewer counsel representing the defendant and the relatives. The hearing may, however, be viewed by livestream on this website. The press centre will remain closed up untill 6 April 2020.
Synopsis of the first days of this block of hearings
The first hearings in the MH17 criminal proceedings took place on 9 and 10 March 2020. The objective of these hearings was to take stock of the current status of the case. At the hearings, the court decided inter alia that the defence would be given the opportunity to present its preliminary objections and make requests for additional investigative steps at the start of the block of hearings that will run from 8 June 2020.
On 10 March 2020, the prosecution requested the court to rule on requests for inter alia the conduct of further investigative steps. Counsel representing a large number of victims’ relatives, for their part, requested that a copy of the court documents be provided to the relatives.