Today marks the first day of the passenger flight, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) trials at the Schiphol Judicial Complex. The trial involves three Russian citizens and one Ukrainian who have been suspected of involvement in the transport of the Buk rocket which brought down the flight.
Moscow denies involvement in the tragedy and Russian officials are denunciating the proceedings.
Not surprisingly, none of the defendants (Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko) will be present at the trial since neither Ukraine nor Russia will extradite its citizens- but one will have a defence team present at the trial. The court has also noted that it will accept video testimony.
The first part of the trial is largely procedural, in which aspects of whether the trial can be conducted in absentia, or in absence of those accused will be determined. This means that the substantial aspects (namely whether the defendants are guilty) will follow much later. This means that the overall process is likely to take years, according to the NOS.
298 people perished aboard the flight, which was shot down while flying over Ukraine on July 17, 2014. MH17 was flying over the territory in the midst of a conflict between Russian-backed rebels and Ukraine in the east, and investigators have claimed to have proof that the missile came from a Russian military base.
Whether or not the defendants are present, the trial is particularly important for the families of the victims, as it provides an avenue for closure and helps in delivering them some form of justice.
How else can the families of the victims in the Netherlands be granted justice? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Feature image: Hille Hillenga/Wikimedia Commons