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Veto expected at UN vote on MH17 tribunal

July 29, 2015

The UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution that would create an international criminal court to prosecute the perpetrators of the MH17 crash. Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin has hinted at a veto.

Bergung der Wrackteile von Flug MH17 in der Ostukraine 16.11.2014
Image: Reuters/Antonio Bronic

The UN Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution on Wednesday that would set up an international criminal court to prosecute those responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Malaysia introduced a draft resolution earlier in July that would forge a tribunal under chapter 7 of the UN charter, which would allow the use of sanctions and military action for enforcement.

The Netherlands is leading an international investigation, which includes Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. The majority of the 298 passengers who died were Dutch.

Veto likely

However, the UN resolution is expected to be struck down by veto-wielding Russia.

Russia last week submitted an alternative resolution which called for a "full, thorough, transparent and independent international investigation," but did not mention the creation of an international tribunal for prosecution.

The Russian draft also noted that "the establishment of the true causes of this aerial incident is critical for bringing those responsible to justice."

Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN, told Reuters news agency that now was not the time for an international criminal court.

"This is not a proper thing for the Security Council to do because it's not a case of a threat to international peace and security," Churkin said.


Russia has been strongly opposed to the creation of a tribunal, with President Vladimir Putin saying earlier in July that it was "premature" and "counterproductive."

"I have a very strong feeling that it's not going to lead to a result that will be satisfactory for the Security Council," Churkin told Reuters.

The West and Ukraine have accused pro-Russian separatists of downing the plane using a surface-to-air missile. However, Russia and separatists in eastern Ukraine have said it was likely a Ukrainian military jet.

Malaysia Airlines MH17 crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, leaving all 298 passengers and crew members dead.

ls/jil (AP, Reuters, dpa)