A joint legal action has been initiated by the Australian and Netherlands government against Russia for the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Attorney-General Michaelia Cash made the announcement on Monday evening. They announced that Australia and the Netherlands had started joint legal proceedings against the Russian Federation in the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations.
“We have maintained since May 2018 that the Russian Federation is responsible under international law for the downing of flight MH17,” they said
“Today’s joint action by Australia and the Netherlands is 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.”
“The Russian Federation’s refusal to take responsibility for its role in the downing of Flight MH17 is unacceptable and the Australian government has always said that it will not exclude any legal options in our pursuit of justice.”
“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 said.
The timing of the decision seems to coincide with continued pressure on Russia from western nations over its action in Ukraine with Australia announcing additional sanctions on Russia today. Senator Payne personally announced fresh sanctions on 33 Russian Oligarchs and some of their families due to the war in the Ukraine.