Malaysia hopes to name MH17 shooter early 2018

Transport minister says int'l probe identified separatist group, now narrowing investigation to 'one responsible party'

Malaysia hopes to name MH17 shooter early 2018

World Bulletin / News Desk

Malaysia has said that by early 2018 it plans to identify the member of a pro-Russian separatist group an international probe suspects brought down a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine in 2014.

Malaysia's transport minister told reporters at parliament Tuesday that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has identified the group and is narrowing its investigation to find "the one responsible party" who pulled the trigger of the BUK-type missile.

"Although [JIT] has identified the group that shot MH17, there is a hundred of them and the team has to call all of them for questioning before a conclusion can be made," Liow Tiong Lai said.

"JIT suspects [it is the] separatist group and is continuing its investigations into them. Once the shooter has been identified, we will use our power [to take action] through the international court in Netherlands to prosecute the culprit."

Liow added that the international probe has asked for more time to facilitate its criminal investigation into the tragedy, which occurred three months after the disappearance of MH370 on March 8 that same year.

“We have to go further, it depends on how far we can go from the probe. We have to follow the roots to identify and prosecute either individuals or a group,” he said.

The Kuala Lumpur-bound flight from Amsterdam was shot down in the troubled state of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew on-board.

In an interim report released late September, the JIT -- which comprises Australia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium and Malaysia -- determined MH17 was brought down from separatist controlled territory in Ukraine.

Some 193 casualties were from the Netherlands, while 43 Malaysians and 27 Australians were also killed.

All parties potentially involved -- Russia, Ukraine and a pro-Russian rebel group -- have denied involvement, although international investigators have narrowed down suspicions due to ownership of the BUK. 

Interim JIT findings, however, have confirmed an earlier technical report by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) that the aircraft was undeniably hit by a surface-to-air BUK.

JIT's report also revealed the launch site was in an agricultural field near Pervomaiskiy -- a city in Kharkiv, Ukraine, which was under the control of pro-Russian rebels two years ago.

Last Mod: 15 Kasım 2016, 15:34
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