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21 June, 2019  ▪  Спілкувався: Yuriy Lapayev

Jerry Skinner: “We want to make in the case of clear that this was a deliberate act designed to be a provocation for the August invasion”

The Ukrainian Week talked again with an attorney representing the families of those killed in the disaster of the Malaysian MH17 flight in a lawsuit against the Russian Federation in the European Court of Human Rights, on the evidence in this case, and on the possible consequences of the verdict for Russia

Can you provide us some news in case of MH17 in ECHR? What is your current mission in Ukraine?

- We are in Ukraine at the present time as a result of serious and official Statements of Facts that were issued by ECHR about three weeks ago. It included a series of questions, which we will be answered by the Russian Federation later this year. Those questions deal with information that may include reference to information that may be answered more fully with evidence still in Ukraine. So we have come here to prepare to reply more fully to the Russian opposition. The Russians will oppose what we have already done. The Statements of Facts by ECHR is very close of what we have alleged, so the Russians will respond and then we will have the opportunity to reply. We want some new information, we want as much information as we can find. We want to make in our case clear that this was a deliberate act designed to be a provocation for the August invasion. We believe that Russia just needed extra time between the MH17 event and the August invasion of the Donbas to create a wave of misinformation to blame Ukraine. So we are here in Kyiv, collecting further information about this time period around when it happened. We believe our case is strong and growing stronger. 

 

Which countries are currently involved in the process?

 

- In the statement of facts, that I mentioned, the court invited the countries that had citizens on the aircraft to join the case, to make the observation on the Statement of Facts and to participate. So far the Dutch government, which has the largest interest, because of the large number of Dutch people on plane has been the only nation to agree. But they have indicated, that some of the other countries, like Australia, Germany, and UK maybe joining soon. Then we will have individuals and state applicants bringing cases against Russia. That changes the landscape significantly. The world is pushing back.

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Do you think involvement of USA would benefit the investigation? 

- That is an embarrassing question, because I’m from United States. We believe the US government has the information, at least what the JIT, the Europol criminal investigation, has issued a report. That American report perhaps, including satellite photographs was given to the JIT and presumably is also here in Kyiv in the possession of Ukrainian part of the JIT team. We would like to have this report, because we understand it to be scientifically reliable enough and significant enough, that it would be hard to deny what it shows. We want that to be the part of the civil case for the families as well as part  of the criminal case. So one of the things we came here to try to obtain are copies of that report. Because the American government does not admit that they exists. And I have requested it officially by FOIA, requested it from Congress and there is either silence or no report produced. We want that information from US government, I think that could help enormously. 

 

What Ukraine still needs to do?

 

- Ukraine has several actions filed. You filed four original actions in ECHR on the broader issue of Crimea, on the actions in Donbas. But none of the actions are direct and to the point to say: “Russia, you invaded us” or “You killed or displaced our people” or “You destroy our industry and infrastructure”. Nothing is stated straight like that. I have been encouraging Ukrainian government to bring at least one action that essentially says: you hurt Ukrainian people and nation severely. It needs to identify that the reparation for those actions are so big, that Russia is indebted to Ukraine for billions of dollars and the debt should be paid as a matter of justice. If nothing else, Russia may never leave the territories it has taken, but if it going to continue this criminal behavior, they should pay for it.

Remember the missile targets one airplane, MH 17. But the real target of the attack was the freedom of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

RELATED ARTICLE: Jerry Skinner: “Russia has done everything to block the investigation of the MH17”

Bio

Jerome L. Skinner. Studied at Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law. He graduated in 1979. After passing the bar exam, he was admitted to legal practice in 1979. Jerome L. Skinner is an attorney providing legal services covering Aviation and Aerospace and Personal Injury. He has successfully advocated for families victimized by almost every major U.S. airline disaster since 1989, including the negotiations that resulted in the State of Libya paying a $2.7 billion dollar settlement to the survivors of those killed by the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Founder and President of Romanian Handicapped Ministries. Since 2016– represents relatives of MH17 victims in the European Court of Human Rights.

 


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