Charging Individuals on the basis of a deeply flawed investigation

  • Letters
  • Monday, 24 Jun 2019

Integrity questioned: Some groups are questioning the findings of the joint investigation team on the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. – Reuters

THE International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) share Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s scepticism about Russia’s culpability in the shooting down of MH17 on July 17, 2014. The Dutch-led joint investigation team (JIT) has not produced any solid evidence to show that the four suspects it has named are guilty of the crime.

Dr Mahathir is right when he argues that from the very beginning, there was a political script in place to put the blame on Russia.

A number of independent investigators, apart from organisations such as JUST, PGPF and Global Research, had raised fundamental questions about the investigation since 2014. They had asked how the investigation could be credible when Ukraine was in the team, as it was alleged that Ukraine was complicit in the attack on MH17.

To make it worse, the four initial members of the JIT – Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ukraine (Malaysia was deliberately excluded in the early stage of the investigation) – came to an agreement on Aug 8, 2014 that the results of the investigation can only be announced if they have the consent of all four parties.

Making unanimity among the four a condition in effect gave Ukraine an effective veto over the decision-making process.

We are also aware that throughout the investigation, attempts to obtain independent verifiable data have not been successful. These include certified copies of communications between Ukrainian air traffic controllers and the flight crew on board the ill-fated airline and the Comma Separated Variable (CSV) file from the plane’s flight data recorder. This lack of transparency had created serious doubts about the integrity of the investigation. It is alleged that as a result of the biased investigation, high quality items of evidence available were not subjected to thorough analysis and evaluation.

There is perhaps an even bigger problem with the investigation. The JIT has not tried to link the tragedy with larger geopolitical concerns. The critical question of who benefited from the massacre has not been accorded any attention. And yet it is obvious that the massacre was manipulated to not only demonise Russian President Vladimir Putin and thwart Russia’s military and political re-assertion but also to intensify sanctions against Russia with the support of the United States’ European allies.

These allies, such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy, were somewhat reluctant to endorse the US drive to widen and deepen sanctions against Russia in the initial phase, but after the July 17 massacre of innocent travellers, the European mood changed dramatically.

The failure of the JIT to address these and other important issues pertaining to the actual investigation and its geopolitical dimensions undermines its credibility. In the name of the families of the victims and truth and justice, JUST and PGPF demand that a more honest and comprehensive investigation be carried out perhaps by a truly independent international panel.

Dr Chandra Muzaffar


International Movement for a Just World (JUST)

Tan Sri Norian Mai


Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF)

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