MH-17 investigation is an injustice to all the relatives of the 298 victims

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August 4, 2015

Peter Iiskola

– We are facing a legal farce and a grave injustice for all the relatives of the 298 victims thanks to the fact that Netherlands and Ukraine have forgotten in the case of MH17 that “Nemo iudex in causa sua” or that no one should judge or investigate in his own cause, says Finnish judge and diplomat Peter Iiskola, who is expert in international air and space law.

– What makes it even more ridiculous is that Netherlands should know better, as it is the seat for at least eight international Tribunals, says Iiskola.

The MH17 investigation is led by the Netherlands – it is clearly procedurally biased from these general justice principles points of views. Therefore, this investigation should be nullified and replaced with a fair, unbiased and neutral one – or the 298 victims and their families will never find out the legal or the actual truth, and get justice! Now the fundamental human and legal rights are in this way denied, endangered and gravely breached.

This says the Finnish judge and international diplomat Peter Iiskola, who has worked in Iran-United States Arbitration in The Hague, as well as in United Nations and Council of Europe justice and human rights projects, and is also specialized in international air and space law.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was an international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed on 17 July 2014 and killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board in Eastern Ukraine.

– What additionally makes everything very murky is that the flight path was changed in two exceptional ways. First of all, Malaysian Airlines confirms that the pilot was instructed to fly at a lower altitude by the Kiev air traffic control tower. Second, the evidence confirms that the flight path on July 17th was NOT the usual approved flight path. It had been changed. The change was not ordered by Eurocontrol. So, who was behind this changed flight path which spearheaded the aircraft into the war zone, resulting in 298 deaths? Until the tapes of Kiev flight control is released, we will not know this, if they will be ever released, says Iiskola.

“Nemo iudex in causa sua” is a Latin phrase that means, literally, no-one should be a judge in his own cause. It is a principle of natural justice that no person can judge, even less investigate, a case in which they have an interest. The rule is very strictly applied to any appearance of a possible bias, even if there is actually none: “Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done”.

According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the country in which an aviation incident occurs is responsible for the investigation of that incident, but that country may delegate the investigation to another state, as Ukraine has delegated the leadership of both the technical and the criminal investigations to the Netherlands apparently because the flight started from Amsterdam and most of the passengers were Dutch..

The general problem which we face in this investigation is that most NATO and EU countries have even within just some hours after the accident accused either Vladimir Putin, Russia or some alleged Russian supported separatist for the downing of the airplane.

– Therefore, we cannot really expect that the investigation lead by the Netherlands can ever lead to any unbiased conclusions. Netherlands is a member of both NATO and EU, which both are serious counterparts or in hostility against Russia with sanctions and other measures, says Iiskola.

Ironically, Netherlands should know better since it is the host country or seat for at least eight international tribunals, such as International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Special Court for Sierra Leone at the premises of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Special Tribunal for Lebanon and Appeals Chamber of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

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