BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

MH17: Judges and lawyers visit plane wreckage ahead of trial

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis, right, points as he and other trial judges and lawyers view the reconstructed wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
Presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis, right, points as he and other trial judges and lawyers view the reconstructed wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
Text size Aa Aa

The Dutch trial into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 relocated to an airbase on Wednesday to allow judges and lawyers to inspect the wreckage of the plane.

The reconstruction of the aircraft and its wreckage is located at the Gilze-Rijen airbase, in south-west Netherlands, some 99 kilometres south-east of The Hague.

The Dutch prosecutor's office believes the July 2014 flight was shot down by a ground-to-air missile fired from an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

All 298 passengers and crew on board the plane were killed. The majority of the victims were Dutch and Australian.

Four suspects — Oleg Pulatov, Sergei Dubinsky, Igor Girkin, and Leonid Khartchenko — are on trial over their alleged role in the crash. All are high-ranking officers of the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has denied any involvement in the downing.

The pre-trial phase ended late last year with judges dismissing requests from a defence lawyer to allow for other possibilities for the downing to be examined, including the idea that a Ukrainian fighter could be involved.

Judge Hendrik Stoenhuis said that that "if the prosecution cannot prove the main thesis, the accused will be acquitted anyway".

The trial is to begin next month.