Trial of 4 Suspects in MH17 Downing to Start in March
A Joint Investigative Team has charged four people with murder in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine that killed 298 people.
The team said the trial will start in March 2020 at the Hague District Court.
The team also said the four prepared the launch of the Buk missile that brought the plane down, although they may not have made the decision to actually launch the missile. The preparation justified the charges, the team said.
One of the suspects is Russian national Igor Girkin, who led the separatist forces in Donetsk in 2014. He dismissed the accusations.
The "insurgents did not shoot down the Boeing," he told The Associated Press by telephone on Wednesday
Girkin has since been removed from his post and now lives in Moscow. The other three people charged are Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov. Both men have Russian citizenship, and Leonid Kharchenko, is a Ukraine national.
Alexander Borodai is a Russian national who was a rebel leader in Ukraine's Donetsk area in 2014 when the plane was shot down. He told the AP that it is "untrue" that the separatists attacked the plane. He also lives in Moscow now.
The team asked for cooperation from the Russian government, but did not ask for the extradition of the four men. The Russian Constitution does not permit the extradition of Russian citizens.
Fred Westerbeke is a lawyer and prosecutor on the team. He said "we will ask Russia to hand the summons to the suspects." He added that we will "ask for Russia to cooperate again with legal help."
Silene Fredriksz-Hoogzand's son Bryce was among the 298 people who died in the crash. She is pleased that a trial will start next year, nearly five years after the plane blew up over the eastern Ukraine.
"This is what we hoped for," she said. "This is a start of it. It is a good start."
She added that she did not expect any of the suspects to appear for the trial, which begins on March 9.
All 298 passengers and crew on board the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed on July 17, 2014. Investigators found that a missile hit the Boeing 777 in flight. Bodies fell from the sky onto farms and fields of flowers.
The families of those killed were told of the trial date early Wednesday at a private meeting before a news conference by investigators.
The team is made up of detectives and prosecutors from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine. Last year, the team said that it was sure that the Buk missile that hit flight MH17 came from the Russian army's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade in the Russian city of Kursk.
Russia has always denied responsibility for shooting down the flight. Last year, Russia claimed that the Buk missile came from the Ukrainian army. The Netherlands and Australia have said they hold Moscow responsible for providing the Buk missile system used in the attack.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.bring down 降低；击落
At the next vote, we must try to bring down the government.
2.private meeting 秘密会议
I want to say it was a totally private meeting.
3.news conference 记者会；新闻发布会
Stipe attended yesterday's news conference to lend his support.
4.shoot down 击落；反驳
They shot him down in cold blood.
5.The Netherlands and Australia have said they hold Moscow responsible for providing the Buk missile system used in the attack.
responsible for 对...负责
We are all entirely responsible for our actions, and for our reactions.
The man immediately responsible for this misery is the province's governor.
6.The team is made up of detectives and prosecutors from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine..
made up of 由...组成
Food is made up of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The cream of the class is made up of the best students.
该小组还表示，4名嫌疑人筹备了击落飞机的Buk导弹发射计划，虽然实际发射导弹的决定可能不是他们做出的 。该小组称，准备工作证实了指控是合理的 。
其中一名嫌疑人是俄罗斯人伊格尔·吉尔金（Igor Girkin），他曾在2014年领导顿涅茨克的分裂势力 。他否认了这些指控 。
已被免职的吉尔金现居莫斯科 。另外被控的三人分别是谢尔盖·杜宾斯基和奥列格·普拉托夫 。两人都有俄罗斯国籍，而列昂尼德·哈尔琴科(Leonid Kharchenko)是乌克兰公民 。
亚历山大·柏罗岱（Alexander Borodai）是俄罗斯人，2014年飞机被击落时，他是乌克兰顿涅茨克地区的叛军领袖 。他告诉美联社，分裂分子袭击飞机的说法“不实” 。他现在也住在莫斯科 。
调查小组要求俄罗斯政府提供合作，但没有要求引渡4名嫌疑人 。俄罗斯宪法不允许引渡俄罗斯公民 。
弗雷德·威斯特伯特（Fred Westerbeke）是调查组的律师和检察官 。他说：“我们将要求俄罗斯将传票交给嫌疑人 。”他补充说，我们将“再次请求俄罗斯在法律帮助下进行合作 。”
这起空难造成298人死亡，其中包括西莲·弗雷德里克斯-胡格赞德的儿子布莱斯 。在飞机在乌克兰东部爆炸近5年后，她对明年开始审判一事感到欣慰 。
“这正是我们希望看到的，”她说 。“这只是开始 。这是一个顺利的开端 。”
2014年7月17日，这架由阿姆斯特丹飞往吉隆坡航班上的298名乘客和机组人员全部遇难 。调查人员发现，一枚导弹击中了这架飞行的波音777客机 。遇难者遗体散落在农田和大片花草的田野上 。
调查小组由来自荷兰、马来西亚、澳大利亚、比利时和乌克兰的侦探和检察官组成 。去年，该团队表示，可以肯定，击中MH17航班的Buk导弹来自俄罗斯军队在库尔斯克市的第53防空导弹旅 。
俄罗斯一直否认对击落这架飞机负责 。去年，俄罗斯声称Buk导弹来自乌克兰军队 。荷兰和澳大利亚表示，他们认为，俄罗斯政府应对袭击中使用的Buk导弹系统承担责任 。