(Please note, this matter is not currently being litigated in Australia)Fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council are scheduled to assemble today after Russia requested a briefing in relation to the downing of Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.
More than two months after MH17’s fatal flight, the cause of the crash is still in debate. The preliminary report into the crash was released by the Dutch Safety Board on 9 September 2014 and attributed the crash to damage caused by a “large number of high-energy objects” penetrating the skin of the aircraft. It is believed that this preliminary report, along with Resolution 2166, will be the focus of today’s meeting.
Resolution 2166, put forward by Australia and adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 21 July 2014, called for cooperation between all states and ‘safe, secure, full and unrestricted access’ to the crash site. This unfortunately has not been achieved, with fighting between rebels around the eastern parts of Ukraine continuing.
The conclusion of the preliminary report supports the idea that MH17 was shot down by a ground to air missile. While it is thought that the missile was fired by pro-Russian separatists, Russia continues to deny these allegations along with any suggestion that the Russian government supplied the rebels with high powered weapons. An anonymous senior council diplomat stated that the council is unsure as to why Russia has called the meeting, and they will have to wait until today’s meeting to find out the true cause.
It is hoped that with a ceasefire operational as of 5 September 2014, international aviation experts will be able to access and examine the wreckage. Safe access to the crash site is essential in order for authorities to properly prepare the final report which is due to be released next year.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 21, 2014.