Prime Minister Rutte’s response to veto of Security Council Resolution on MH17 tribunal

I am deeply disappointed that a UN tribunal will not be established to try those responsible for downing flight MH17. This veto is a setback, but we will continue, no less resolute in our objective to ensure that the perpetrators of this tragic air disaster are tried and prosecuted. The families of the victims can rest assured that this veto will not weaken our resolve.

The countries working together in the Joint Investigation Team (Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands) made every effort to see a UN tribunal established to try those responsible. This was the preferred option because it would have generated broad international support for the prosecution process. It was also the best way of guaranteeing the cooperation of all states. The Dutch government was committed to achieving that aim.

The Russian veto is not a surprise. Earlier today, I made a final appeal to President Putin. In our conversation, I explained why it was necessary not to hold off on a decision. But in the end, Russia failed to stand up and be counted in the quest for international justice. This is exceptionally disappointing. 11 members of the Security Council voted in favour and 3 abstained. Only Russia voted against the resolution. This, too, is regrettable.

As I have said before, there are other options for trying the perpetrators, at both international and national level. We will now focus on those options with the other countries participating in the Joint Investigation Team, supported by a broad international coalition. We are resolved to uphold resolution 2166, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council shortly after the MH17 disaster. The perpetrators must be held to account and must not be allowed to escape punishment. We owe that to the victims and their families.