The traumatized families of the 298 people killed in the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 demanded justice from Russia as they testified for the first time in the Dutch trial of the four suspects.
The relatives of the passengers and crew died on July 17, 2014, when a surface-to-air Buk missile originating from a Russian base bombed a Boeing 777 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur from the conflict-torn eastern Ukraine fly. On Monday, they could not really bid farewell to their loved ones until the perpetrators were brought to justice.
According to Dutch law, relatives can make a victim impact statement to the court without being asked questions. About 90 people plan to do so in the next three weeks, some of whom speak via live video links from other countries.
“I think that maybe after the verdict, this is one of the most important days for the family, because they can talk to the court, but by talking to the court, they can talk to the suspect, and they can also talk to anyone in any place. The responsible person talks. They are hiding,” said Peter Langstraat, a lawyer representing the relatives of the victims. “So this is a form of communication with those who are responding to this disaster.”
International investigators said that a Russian-made missile fired from eastern Ukraine held by pro-Moscow rebels shot down the Boeing 777, but Russia denied any involvement in the matter.
‘I woke up crying’
Ria van der Steen lost her father Jan and stepmother Nell. She said she quoted the Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “They are lying, we know they are lying, they know we know they are lying.”
“I am full of feelings of revenge, hatred, anger and fear,” said Van derstein, the first to testify.
“I know they are dead, and I won’t see them again, but I can’t end this farewell process, unless of course those responsible for their deaths are found guilty of what they did.”
Van der Steen told the court of recurring nightmares, such as walking through the ruins to find her father after the crash.
“When I finally found him, I had to tell him that he was dead, and then I woke up crying,” she said.
Australian Vanessa Rizk (Vanessa Rizk)’s parents Albert (Albert) and Maree (Maree) are returning from a European holiday on this doomed plane. She also pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin (Vladimir Putin) and his government were part of the “political nightmare” that led to the crash, calling the perpetrators “deserved.” Punishment for their heinous behavior”.
“How would they feel if the perpetrators were their loved ones? How would Putin and his corrupt Russian government answer this question?” she said via a live broadcast from Australia.
‘I do not have kids’
The tearful Peter van der Meer told the judge that after his three young daughters, 12-year-old Sophie, 10-year-old Fleur and 7-year-old Bent, and his ex-wife Ingrid, he lost “Life and future.”
“I hope that after the story I told you today, the perpetrators will have a sense of urgency so that they can look in the mirror and not have to lie to their children and grandchildren about what they did on July 17, 2014, he said.
Van der Meer said that after the death of his daughter, he stopped celebrating the St. Nicholas holiday in the Netherlands. “This is a children’s holiday. I don’t want to celebrate anymore. I have no children,” he said.
Russian nationals Oleg Platov, Igor Gilkin and Sergey Dubinsky and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko were tried in absentia for murder. Only Platov has legal representation.
Chief Justice Hendrik Steenhuis set September 22, 2022 as a possible date for the trial judgment, but gave alternative dates for November and December of that year.