MH17: Court Can Adjudicate Case Against Russia

    MH17: Court Can Adjudicate Case Against Russia
    Last updated Jan 25, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via BBC News]


    • The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that it can adjudicate on cases brought by Ukraine and the Netherlands against Russia over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014.[1]
    • The European Court's decision does not rule on the merits of the cases but instead shows that the court considers Russia can be held liable for human rights violations.[2]
    • All 298 people on the MH17 flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur died when it was hit by a Russian surface-to-air missile in July 2014 during fighting between pro-Russia forces and Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region.[3]
    • 196 Dutch citizens were killed on flight MH17, and the Netherlands is seeking to bring a case against Russia for violations of the European convention on human rights. Last year, a Dutch court found three men guilty of the murder of 298 MH17 passengers; the Russian nationals Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy and a Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko received life sentences but remain at large.[4]
    • The cases were filed before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022. Despite no longer being a part of the European Convention on Human Rights, the court says it has jurisdiction in cases already started before Russia's withdrawal from the Convention and could be ordered to pay damages — however, the court has no way to enforce its rulings.[2]
    • Russia denies any involvement or responsibility for the downing of MH17 and also denied any presence in Ukraine in 2014.[5]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    Although the downing of the MH17 flight was perpetrated by Russian separatists and not Russia itself, Moscow still had a significant influence on the separatists’ military strategy. Russia provided the separatists with political and economic support — including providing weapons and carrying out artillery attacks requested by the rebels. Russia violated the European Convention on Human Rights and needs to be held accountable for its actions.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Russia no longer belongs to the European Convention on Human Rights, so no matter what this court says, the rulings do not matter and have little standing as they can't be enforced. The impact of any ruling will be largely symbolic. Western countries are showing bias because of their support of the Ukrainian government and are trying to punish Russia for actions it had no part in.

    Establishment split