It's been almost six years since 298 people lost their lives when the Malaysia Airlines MH17 was downed over Ukraine. The trial investigating four suspects has kicked off — but the accused did not show up.
A Dutch court ruled on Monday that the trial of four suspects in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 would go ahead despite none of them showing up to court.
The trial began with three of the suspects — two Russians and a Ukrainian — being tried "in absentia," while another Russian suspect would be represented by a lawyer, chief judge Hendrik Steenhuis said.
"The court realizes the impact of the loss of so many lives and the manner in which they so abruptly ended is barely conceivable," Steenhuis said at the start of the trial.
"We assume [the suspects] have waived their right to be present since they do not value the right to be present," he added.
"The bereaved waited five and a half years. We hope that the truth is now on the table," said Piet Ploeg, whose brother, sister-in-law and nephew died in the crash.
He, along with other family members, laid a wreath at the memorial for the victims on Sunday.
The four suspects are considered responsible for bringing a Buk anti-aircraft missile system from Russia into the conflict area in eastern Ukraine. The men are on international wanted lists for their alleged actions.