The International MH17 Legal Team currently has on behalf of 304 relatives or 141 MH17
victims lodged a complaint against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights
(ECHR). The relatives have 12 different nationalities. The international MH17 Legal Committee represents the fixed majority of the relatives and consists of lawyers from the Netherlands, Germany, England, Scotland, Canada, Malaysia and the United States. The team is also assisted by various experts.
This complaint was originally submitted on 6 May 2016 by Jerry Skinner of the United States on behalf of Australian and Malaysian victims families. In short, the complaint means that the surviving relatives believe that Russia is responsible for bringing down flight MH17 and therefore violating the European
Human Rights Convention. The surviving relatives are of the opinion that the existing evidence is overwhelming and that Russia’s motive was intentional.
The complaint was handled by the Court on 3 April 2019 and developments in the case have occurred rapidly. For example, on July 10 it is announced that Ukraine and Canada will join –
or intervene – in the complaint procedure. This means that they may and will support the
complaint against Russia. Earlier in May, the Dutch government indicated that it would intervene in the complaint of the relatives.
Russia itself was told by the Court that it would be substantively deal with the complaint before 3 September 2019 must respond. However, Russia did not respond at all within the stated deadline of 3 September 2019.
However, Russia did ask the Court asked to "suspend" the entire complaint procedure. This was refused by the Court on 11 September 2019.
At that point, Russia answered with a number of legal questions, for the Court.
Moreover, Russia indicated that the entire complaint procedure should be delayed awaiting the resolution of a number of inter-state complaints that Ukraine has lodged against Russia.
The same delay tactic used just after September 3, 2019. This legal committee will contact the Court and opposes any attempt to create a delay based upon the claims of the Ukraine which do not relate in any way to the destruction of flight MH 17. On September 23, 2019, the Court announced that Russia now has until December 9, 2019 to respond to the original questions.
The reaction of Russia shows that the real legal issues are now arising and Russia is opting for
a delaying tactic. It has also become clear that Russia may not respond to our allegations in the filed Application. We will consider the possibility of strongly pursuing a default judgment. The legal questions that Russia has now put to the Court show that Russia will use all means in it’s power to avoid responsibility . The International MH17 Legal Committee hopes that the Court keeps the time limits tight so that the real substantive claim can be dealt with quickly; namely whether Russia is intentionally responsible for death of 298 innocent people. The International MH 17 Legal Committee is determined to fight to the fullest extent and has been preparing for some months to respond to Russia's first substantive defense.
The International MH17 Legal Team can be reached through Jerry Skinner (USA) at + 001 513 532 9200, or lawyer Sander de Lang +31 644 662 159 in Netherlands (SAP Lawyers) or via lawyer Peter Langstraat +31 653 367 623 in Netherlands (Moree Gelderblom lawyers)