A Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), including Belgium, Australia, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, has identified and charged four men with murder for the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in 2014. Three of the four are Russian nationals – Igor Girkin (also known as Igor Strelkov), Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, whilst the fourth person, Leonid Kharchenko, is a Ukrainian. The trial is set for 2020, though as Russia does not extradite its nationals for prosecution it is likely the four accused will be in absentia. The trial will probably be held in the Netherlands as that is where the majority of victims came from.
It is believed that Girkin was a former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence agency and who was the self-declared minister of defense in the separatist administration in eastern Ukraine. Dubinskiy was a former minister from the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, Pulatov was an ex-soldier in Russia’s Spetznaz special forces unit, and Kharchenko a Ukrainian separatist.
Wilbert Paulissen, chief constable of the Netherlands National Police, told a press conference that: “Today [Wednesday] we will send out international arrest warrants for the first suspects that we will prosecute. They will also be placed on national and international wanted lists.”