23.07.2015. Expert comment: The final decision on the case of the MH17 crash should be made by an international tribunal, Razumkov Centre


Official results of the international investigation of the passenger Boeing-777 crash in Donbas are going to be published in autumn. However, the world is already discussing the need to create an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the plane crash, informs the news agency UNIAN.

Co-director of Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes of the Razumkov Centre Oleksiy Melnyk noted that he supported the initiative on creating an international tribunal “because to establish the truth, decision of no national court will be enough – it should be the most respected international institution whose decision would be recognised, if not by all, then by most countries”.

Unfortunately, creating a tribunal still remains problematic. “We already can see that there is very stiff resistance from Russia in this matter,” noted the expert.

However, according to him, there are mechanisms to influence Russia. In particular, Russia can either be persuaded to give up the right of veto in the UN Security Council, or this right of veto can be avoided by adopting a decision at the UN General Assembly which gathers all the states.

“Also, one of the ways to prevent Moscow from using the right of veto is the way the question is presented in public – if you do not admit that you are guilty and responsible for this tragedy, it is not logical to block the creation of a tribunal, if Russia is interested in establishing the truth,” noted Mr Melnyk, and added that this is a very simplistic approach, which can be used at the level of state leaders.

The expert believes that the tribunal decision may take years, and recognising Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is one of the possible consequences of the results of the MH17 disaster international investigation but it will not be automatic.

Furthermore, the form of punishment, including not only for certain culprits but also for the state, will depend on the position held by the Kremlin. “If Russia takes such an obstructionist position as it does now, one of the consequences of this may be quite a strong response of the international community to punish it by other means. In particular, by strengthening or extending economic sanctions. For such behaviour of one of the largest countries in the world is unacceptable,” believes Mr Melnyk.

Source: Razumkov Centre