Live – The trial is being attended by reporter Saskia Bellman. Follow the issue via her tweets at the bottom of this article (from about 10 a.m.).
Discussing the findings of an intense investigation this week, the court will address three key questions: Was flight MH17 shot down by a BUK missile? Was a BUK missile launched from an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi in eastern Ukraine? Were the four suspects Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Leonid Charchenko and Oleg Bulatov involved? Discussing the last question will take most of the time.
It was clear from the start that the suspect’s seat would remain empty. Bulatov is represented by only two lawyers. Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Leonid Charchenko were silent. You can not miss the fact that the lawsuit is pending. International interest in this process is great.
The result of their absence is that no questions can be asked. This means that this week attendees will mainly hear a monologue by the judges. According to some critics, this is a ghost operation, but many relatives believe the opposite. They understand that most likely no one will end up behind bars, but nonetheless find it important that the court determine who is responsible for the deaths of the total of 298 passengers on flight MH17.
On Monday morning, the court basically made it clear how things would go this week. The file now covers 65,000 pages and hundreds of hours of film footage, phone conversations, and photos. Chief Justice Hendrik Stehues said the court would not provide this comprehensively. The file has been discussed in broad outlines, but that does not mean that no details will be discussed, according to the chairman.
Stenhais stressed several times that the file contained the findings of the investigation team, but the court has not yet issued a verdict on the matter.
Despite multiple requests for legal assistance, the United States has so far refused to provide satellite images it says it has of a missile launch in eastern Ukraine. Americans invoke intelligence interests. The Dutch investigating judge no longer sees any possibilities of obtaining or seeing these images.
When the court has finished debating the main facts and questions, the public prosecution will have the opportunity to present portions of the file next Thursday and Friday.
In September, the next of kin will be given the opportunity to take advantage of the right to speak for a period of three weeks.
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