1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Malaysia pushes for UN tribunal on MH17

July 3, 2015

Malaysia has told the UN Security Council it wants a United Nations-backed tribunal to pursue those suspected of shooting down a Malaysia Airlines jet last year. Veto holder Russia did not raise formal objections.

Ukraine Absturz MH17
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Pochuyev

Kuala Lumpur's Ambassador to the UN, Ramlan Ibrahim, told the UN Security Council on Thursday that Malaysia would circulate a draft resolution and draft statute of the proposed international criminal tribunal next month.

Ibrahim told council members that a UN court would "provide the highest degree of legitimacy for the trial and prosecution mechanism for MH17 to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

Malaysia is working along with Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ukraine, which are members of the incident Joint Investigation Team (JIT), on setting up the international tribunal. Any suspects in the shooting down of the plane have so far not been named.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777 passenger jet, had been flying to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine last July. The incident happened during some of the worst fighting between Ukrainian government forces seeking to defeat a pro-Russian separatist movement in the country's eastern regions.

New Zealand's UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, Security Council president for July, said Malaysia was supported in its efforts by the other four JIT members.

"They are seeking to find a mechanism to deal with criminal accountability in relation to the downing of the aircraft," said van Bohemen.

Russian missile system implicated

Western nations and Ukraine accuse the rebels of shooting the aircraft down with a Russian-made missile. Moscow has denied accusations that it provided the rebels with help and equipment, including the SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems implicated in the plane's destruction.

According to diplomats, Russia described the proposal as premature and said that the council should await the outcome of other investigations. However, it did not raise objections after Malaysia presented its case.

Our sense was that all council members, including Russia, were open to further consider the matter," said Malaysian diplomat Johan Ariff Abdul Razak.

As a veto-wielding power on the 15-member council, along with France, Britain, China and the United States, Russia has the option of blocking the eventual proposal, if it is put to a vote.

rc/jr (AP, AFP, Reuters)