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Russia confirms it opposes UN tribunal for MH17 culprits

Russia said Thursday it will oppose a draft UN resolution circulated by Malaysia on establishing an international tribunal to prosecute those behind the downing of Flight MH17 over Ukraine.



United Nations: Russia said Thursday it will oppose a draft UN resolution circulated by Malaysia on establishing an international tribunal to prosecute those behind the downing of Flight MH17 over Ukraine.

Deputy UN Ambassador Petr Iliichev confirmed Moscow`s opposition to the plan, saying: "It`s not a good time and it`s counterproductive."

Asked whether Russia would push against the proposal, Iliichev responded "yes."

A day earlier, Malaysia had circulated the draft Security Council resolution.

It says a UN tribunal would guarantee an independent trial for those behind the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane on July 17, 2014.

The text, obtained by AFP, calls for establishing the tribunal under Chapter Seven of the UN charter, which means that the court`s efforts to prosecute those responsible could be enforced by sanctions.

All 298 passengers and crew on board the Malaysia Airlines flight -- the majority of them Dutch -- died when the plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Suspicions immediately turned to pro-Russian separatists who may have used a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia to down the plane.

Russia has denied the claim and suggested that a Ukrainian missile may have hit it.

The tribunal would be "an effective guarantee for an independent and impartial accountability process," the draft resolution said.

The text describes the downing of the plane as "a threat to international peace and security" and demands that all states cooperate fully with the tribunal.

The council would "establish an international tribunal for the sole purpose of prosecuting persons responsible for crimes connected with the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July 2014," the draft text said.

Under the draft, the council would also adopt the statute of the new tribunal modeled after other UN special courts tasked with prosecuting serious crimes.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said the international court is the "best option" for prosecution but that there is also a "back-up plan" should the Russians block the proposal.

Last month, Russian deputy foreign minister Gennadiy Gatilov described the proposal as "not timely and counterproductive," saying the investigation should be completed before any further steps are taken.

A final report on the Dutch-led probe is expected in October.

Malaysia is working with Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ukraine -- all member countries of the Joint Investigation Team -- on setting up the international tribunal.

From Zee News

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