MH17 prosecutors now face tricky task of catching culprits

A Dutch-led criminal probe to find those responsible for shooting down flight MH17 has now become the top priority after the cause of the crash was unveiled, but doubts remain whether the culprits will ever be caught.

MH17 prosecutors now face tricky task of catching culprits

The Hague: A Dutch-led criminal probe to find those responsible for shooting down flight MH17 has now become the top priority after the cause of the crash was unveiled, but doubts remain whether the culprits will ever be caught.

Analysts said Wednesday that Russia's cooperation in the investigation to identify those behind the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight on July 17 last year was now essential - but also highly unlikely.

Air crash investigators released their final report Tuesday into the doomed flight, saying the jetliner was brought down by a BUK surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 on board.

Forensic investigators have also finished repatriating body parts collected from the crash site which at the time saw heavy fighting between the Ukranian army and pro-Russian separatists.

"If Russia cooperates in the criminal case it also means their alleged involvement in the Ukraine comes under the spotlight in a court of law," said Tony van der Togt, international relations researcher at the respected Clingendael Institute in The Hague.

"They (Moscow) will never accept this," he told AFP.

Although the Dutch Safety Board's (OVV) official report states the official cause of the crash, it had always maintained it would not point fingers at those responsible.

But OVV chairman Tjibbe Joustra suggested after the report's release that the area from where the deadly BUK missile was fired was indeed under rebel control.

His remark supported the Ukrainian and US-held theory that pro-Moscow rebels were behind the downing of the Boeing 777 on a routine flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.

The Kremlin and the state-owned Russian BUK manufacturer firmly rejected the accusation, with the Kremlin instead pointing the finger at the Ukranian military.

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