At the end of the hearing day on 21 September 2021 the court asked the Prosecution again to consider whether the current investigation comprises documents that might reasonably be relevant for any decision to be taken by the court in the case of the four accused and should be added to the case file.
The Prosecution has identified several documents as possibly relevant. Some have been provided. The investigating judge has been asked regarding some of those documents whether sensitive information may be omitted, pursuant to Section 149b, Code of Criminal Procedure.
Requests from the Defence
- witness M58
The Defence wishes to investigate the reliability of witness M58 and would therefore like to receive a complete written transcript of his interviews at the police, as well as the audio recordings of these interviews. These recordings may, according to the Defence, be entrusted to a behavioural expert to be designated by them, on the condition that nobody other than this expert be allowed access to these recordings. This would adequately safeguard the security of this witness, according to the Defence.
The Defence also wishes to learn whether the quality of the images in the case file is the same as that of the images presented to this witness during the interviews.
- witness S45
The Defence has asked the court to add the documents concerning this witness to the case file. This witness is believed to have served with the 53rd brigade and was in the Ukraine in the area of the crash site. According to the Defence, the statement by this witness is highly relevant to the investigation. The Defence has asked the court to have the investigating judge interview this witness, as well as the team leader of the police involved in the interviews, as witnesses.
Reaction from the Prosecution
The Prosecution objects to producing a complete written transcript of the interviews with M58. His statements have undergone extensive validation and have been almost entirely transcribed, and the witness was interviewed by the investigating judge in the presence of the Defence for four days. Special safety measures were taken for this witness. A complete written transcript of all his interviews will require a great deal of work and will add nothing.
The Prosecution also objects to interviewing witness S45. This witness has made various statements and either was or was not in the Ukraine. He was not involved in transporting or launching the BUK-TELAR and knows nothing about this. The investigating judge has checked the accuracy of the rendition of his statement by the team leader.
If the court decides to have witnesses interviewed, this will impact the schedule. The Prosecution will deliver its submissions only after the witness(es) have been interviewed.
Presentation of the results of the investigation by the investigating judge
- interviewing Muchkaev as a witness
The investigating judge reported that on 2 April 2021 she had a request for mutual legal assistance issued to the authorities of the Russian Federation to interview this witness. In a letter dated 15 June 2021 she explained this request. On 10 August 2021 she learned from the Russian authorities that ‘measures were being taken concerning the possibility of complying with this request.’ After that, she did not receive any further reaction, despite a reminder. The investigating judge has no indications that such a reaction will soon be forthcoming. She has therefore concluded that at present it cannot reasonably be expected that examining the witness will be possible within the near future – and certainly not before the date mentioned by the court of 1 December 2021.
- Interviewing witness V22
The same holds true as indicated above with respect to witness Muchkaev.
- Interviews with witnesses S21, V7, S20 and S40 and expert RC08
These witnesses have been interviewed additionally by the investigating judge, and the questions from the Defence have been put to them, wherever possible. The court recalled their previous statements briefly and summarized what they said in the interviews before the investigating judge. The same holds true for the expert.
- phone conversations
Het NFI reported about the question of whether the voice on the fourteen phone conversations attributed to defendant Pulatov can be from one and the same person. Regarding twelve of these conversations, the NFI has found that it is 10 to 100 times more likely that one and the same person was involved than that different people were.
The Lithuanian Forensic Expertise Centre in Vilnius reported that no signs of modifications were found on the recordings of the fourteen phone conversations.
- expert reports concerning calculation of launch sites of the BUK-TELAR
The court presented the additional information from the experts of the Russian Almaz Antay, as well as the reports added by the Belgian RMA (Royal Military Academy), regarding the question as to the area from where the alleged BUK-TELAR would have to have been launched to have been able to cause the damage on the wreckage of the MH17.
The court discussed the personal circumstances of the four accused, to the extent that they arise from the case file.
The court has adjourned the hearing until 2 November at 15:00 hours. At that point the court will take decisions regarding the requests from the Defence.
Watch the livestream footage here:
Livestream 1 November 2021 part 1
Livestream 1 November 2021 part 2
Livestream 1 November 2021 part 3