Agreement on implementing the MH17 agreement in Ukraine and the Netherlands

This week the parliaments of Ukraine and of the Netherlands adopted laws to implement the agreement on international legal cooperation with regard to the downing of flight MH17.

The agreement stipulates that the prosecution of any suspected perpetrators can be conducted in the Netherlands on behalf of all 298 people who lost their lives in the disaster. As a result, all the next of kin will have the same rights in a Dutch trial.

On Tuesday the Dutch Senate adopted bills implementing the decision that anyone charged with involvement in the downing of MH17 can be prosecuted and tried in the Netherlands.

Both bills were unanimously adopted following a debate with Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus. On Thursday the Ukrainian parliament enacted similar legislation.

The bilateral agreement was signed by then-justice minister Stef Blok and his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Petrenko on 7 July 2017. Among other things, it eliminates any ambiguity about the nature of the proceedings in the Netherlands: suspects will be prosecuted on behalf of all victims, not just those who were Dutch nationals. The MH17 disaster claimed the lives of people from 17 countries.

The bilateral agreement with Ukraine allows for the possibility of using video conferencing in the trial and prison sentences being served in countries other than the Netherlands.