On this day of the hearings the prosecution and the defence spoke about requests that the defence submitted during the hearing on 21 May 2021 and about some new requests by the defence. In addition, the court made remarks about various claims for compensation submitted or yet to be submitted by relatives.
Previous and new requests by the defence
At the hearing on 21 May 2021 the defence submitted additional requests to the court and then made several new requests today. Many of the requests concern documents that the defence would also like to receive, such as a list of all pieces of wreckage, including their assigned numbers, and indicating the section of the MH17 aircraft reconstruction corresponding with those pieces of wreckage. The defence also made a request relating to a video that appeared on the internet and on which, according to the defence, someone other than the present accused alleges having a role in the crash of Flight MH17. In addition, the defence would like to be granted the same means and opportunities that the prosecution has to generate what are known as visualisations of intercepted conversations and other (visual) material.
Reaction from the prosecution
The prosecution has already granted some requests by the defence, such as allowing inspection of certain autopsy photographs. The prosecution has objected to the others. The prosecution believes that several requests should be denied, because those requests were denied previously and do not contain anything new. Regarding some requests, the prosecution has asked for additional clarification and stresses the importance of progress in and conclusion of the criminal proceedings, which in the view of the prosecution should carry progressively more weight because of the impact on the relatives. Necessary investigation obviously remains to be conducted, explained the prosecution. At this stage in the MH17 criminal proceedings, however, it asks that the court give critical consideration to whether the requests from the defence are necessary to ensure that the truth is uncovered properly and fairly. Counsel for the relatives supports this latest request.
Remarks from the court about claims for compensation
The court has indicated which information needs to be provided with claims for compensation to assess those claims properly and has asked Counsel for the relatives an additional question.
Payments received from third parties
The claims need to include a list of payments from third parties to relatives. This applies not only to for payments that may have been received from Malaysia Airlines, for example, but also to any insurance benefit payments. If payments have been received from third parties, their different components (both tangible and intangible amounts) need to be stated.
Where insurance benefits may have been paid, the court has asked Counsel for the relatives how to exclude the possibility that, if claims are granted, the accused might be asked by relatives and insurers alike to pay amounts awarded.
Proceedings at foreign courts
The court also wishes to be informed about any actions at foreign courts between relatives and accused following the crash of Flight MH17. In reviewing the claims, the court will need to consider already pending or concluded court cases about damages in other countries. In the event of any legal proceedings abroad, the court would therefore like to know the date the action was filed, the claim in those proceedings, the party the claim in the action addresses and the current status or conclusion of those proceedings. If a final decision has already been reached there, the court would like to know the amounts allocated and the type of damages covered. Whether or not those amounts were indeed paid matters as well. The final question is whether any legal remedies remain available against that decision by the foreign court. If a judgment by a foreign court is final, the court asks that a copy of this decision be submitted with the claim for compensation.
Round of written submissions about claims for compensation
On 3 June 2021 the defence responded in writing to the claims for compensation already received. Today Counsel for the relatives asked whether the written response from the defence is too narrow in scope, because it does not seem to address all aspects of those claims. The defence replied that there appears to be a misunderstanding about how its written reaction should be perceived. It has been agreed that the defence will inform Counsel for the relatives (in writing) in greater detail about which aspects of those claims are still subject to debate. Counsel for the relatives will be able to consider this elaboration in its own written response, which is to be submitted to the court no later than 2 July.
Previous request by Counsel for the relatives regarding photos
In a letter dated 16 June 2021 Counsel for the relatives requested permission to share with relatives who so desire photographs, including those taken by the court prior to the inspection of the MH17 aircraft reconstruction,. The court has granted that request.
The way forward
On 8 July 2021 at 13.30 hours the court will take decisions regarding the pending requests from the defence. At that point the court will also respond to completed written submissions of views by the defence, the prosecution and Counsel for the relatives about claims for compensation filed by the relatives.
This will conclude this block of hearings. In September 2021 the relatives will have the opportunity to address the court.