The Public Prosecution Service (OM) emphasized on Tuesday that the threat from Russia to witnesses in the MH17 trial is very real. It is therefore of great importance that they remain anonymous.
The second day in the MH17 process was dominated by the state of the investigation. The public prosecutor once again lashed out at Russia whose attitude "casts a shadow over this trial".
On Monday the OM already stated that Russia has actively opposed the criminal investigation and on Tuesday it was repeated that "the Russian Federation is doing everything it can to thwart this process".
According to the OM, the use of Russian security services would not be shunned. According to the officer, the fact that they are trying to find out the identity of the witnesses who are still anonymous is "a real scenario".
A witness who made video recordings of the stoop with which MH17 was shot out of the sky on July 17, 2014, says he fled when two armed men stood at his door. Another says to fear for his life when his name becomes known.
"Security services involved in armed struggle"
The OM said at the hearing that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigation has provided clear indications that the same Russian security services, FSB and GRU, are also closely involved in the armed conflict in Ukraine.
To limit the risks as much as possible, the examining magistrate has decided that the identity of dozens of witnesses must be protected. A smaller number was heard as an endangered witness. "That way they were able to make a statement without taking irresponsible risks," the public prosecutor said.
See also: The Kremlin and the MH17 disaster: Hardly denying and throwing sand in eyes