The trial of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash over Ukraine in 2014 will begin on Monday.
Open since March 2020, it has had to deal with numerous legal discussions, focusing mainly on the admissibility of evidence in the drama, which killed all 298 people on board.
Dutch judges start examining evidence against Russian suspects Sergei Dubinsky, Igor Guirkin and Oleg Poulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Khartchenko on Monday.
These four high-ranking pro-Russian separatists from eastern Ukraine are being prosecuted by the Dutch prosecution for murder and for having been deliberately involved in the crash by shooting down the plane.
They are tried in absentia and Oleg Poulatov is the only one of the four suspects to have legal representation there.
"Was flight MH17 shot down by a BUK missile?"
“The court will open the criminal trial of MH17 in earnest, reviewing and discussing the contents of the prosecution case file, and elucidate key issues it has already begun to address,” the court said in a statement. "Was flight MH17 shot down by a BUK missile?" Was a BUK missile fired from an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi? Did the accused play a role in this? »Clarifies the declaration.
The Boeing 777, which left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, was shot down over the area of armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The international team of investigators, led by the Netherlands, established in May 2018 that the plane was shot down by a BUK missile from the 53rd Russian anti-aircraft brigade based in Kursk (southwest).
Oleg Poulatov, one of the suspects, said in November 2020 that he saw no sign of the type of missile the prosecution was using to bring down the device.
Relatives of victims heard in September
The trial is taking place at the Schiphol court in Amsterdam, because it is located a stone's throw from the airport where the doomed Boeing took off, and because 196 of the 298 victims were Dutch.
The court said that the "hearing on the merits" of the case will begin on Monday with general subjects, including the investigation by the investigating judge, and that it will be followed by three additional days of discussion, from Tuesday. on Thursday.
The prosecution and defense will then have the opportunity to raise issues in hearings that will last until July 9.
Relatives of the victims will be able to apply to court in September, he said.
Wreckage riddled with impacts
Dutch judges first inspected the impact-riddled wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as part of the trial in a hangar at Gilze-Rijen Air Base in May. the south of the Netherlands, where part of the Boeing 777 could be reconstructed using pieces from the front.
The presiding judge, Hendrik Steenhuis, then described a visit "charged with emotion" for the relatives of the victims, adding that it was "a reconstruction of a plane in which their relatives were on their way to a destination they have never reached ”.
Crash of flight MH17: The wreckage of the plane inspected by Dutch judges in the context of the trial
Crash of flight MH17: "I did not see a BUK missile", says a suspect