Australia launch legal action against Russia over downed MH17 flight

Mar 15, 2022
Australia plans to hold Russia to account for the downing of MH17 and their blatant violation of international law.

Australia has taken firm legal action against Russia over the downing of Malaysian airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, which killed all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

The legal action comes as Australia cracks down on Russia in a bid to hold the country accountable for their “blatant violation of international law” and escalating aggression against Ukraine.

Australia and the Netherlands have united in legal proceedings against the Russian Federation in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) where they hope to secure a verdict that sees Russia deliver compensation payments to the families of MH17 victims.

In a joint media release with Senator Hon. Marise Payne and Prime Minister Hon. Scott Morrison on March 14, Australia declared that their was “overwhelming evidence” proving Russia’s liability in the downing of MH17 – which evidently “belonged to the Russian Federation’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Military Brigade, and was accompanied by a trained Russian military crew.”

According to the statement, the formal proceedings come “as a major step forward in both countries’ fight for truth, justice and accountability for this horrific act of violence, which claimed the lives of 298 victims, 38 of whom called Australia home.”

“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and the escalation of its aggression underscores the need to continue our enduring efforts to hold Russia to account for its blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter, including threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and airspace,” the statement read.

Australia has imposed sanctions on Russia previously, with further sanctions introduced in response to the country’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Russia is already dealing with the pressure of a struggling civil aviation sector, which Australia plans to play on with ongoing forceful legal action.

Russia had previously been engaged in discussions with Australia and the Netherlands, before the government withdrew negotiations in October, 2020 in regards to the downing of MH17,. However, the current legal action against Russia could now see the country re-engage or be threatened with harsh penalties from the ICAO.

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