Why the answer to the MH17 issue could be in a forgotten legal precedent

Why the answer to the MH17 issue could be in a forgotten legal precedent

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, has passed away from a heart attack. Churkin was well-known for his tussle against his US colleague Samantha Power over Russia’s bombing of Aleppo as well as when Russia rejected resolution in the United Nations Security Council resolution to create an inquiry into war crimes in order to look into the downing of flight MH17. Churkin was the only one to defend his position.

Churkin said Russia has vetoed the tribunal because of concerns with the way the tribunal was constructed, specifically its size and the unusual rules that might have permitted evidence supplied by intelligence agencies to remain hidden from defendants. However, the judge insists that Moscow was still determined to conduct an “genuine international and independent investigation”.

It’s a good moment to request the Kremlin to keep the promise made by Churkin, as all other efforts to create a new inquiry have been met with controversy.

Vitaly Churkin (center) observes the moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives in MH17. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

It was reported that the Malaysia Airlines plane was destroyed on July 14, 2014, over the ravaged region of Ukraine, which is held by Russian-backed rebels close to the border between the two nations. 298 passengers on board were killed.

The relatives of the victims have been suing an ex-rebel leader and the company that makes Buk missiles Buk anti-aircraft missiles that are at the center of the dispute unsuccessfully tried to get sanctions revoked by the European Court of Justice and Ukraine has brought a case to Russia at the International Court of Justice, heavily relying on dispute settlement provisions of the Terrorism Financing Convention.

In 2016, a Dutch-led group of investigators released the first report, which claimed that the plane was destroyed by a rocket launched from territory held by rebels. However, it was dismissed as biased, fraud, and incompetent by officials from the Kremlin as well as The Russian state-funded media organization of RT.


However professional the investigation is, it will only be able to resolve the issue and identify the perpetrators when there is the criminal law component or includes at least Russia as well as Ukraine.

It may sound like a political shambles; however, there is precedent for states establishing an inquiry in spite of mutual distrust and a lack of trust: it was the 1905 North Sea Incident Commission. Although it’s been forgotten, the commission was recognized as having prevented conflict among Britain with Russia.

It was the Dogger Bank incident

In the month of October 1904, Russia was able to send their Baltic Fleet on a voyage around the world in order to take part during the Russo-Japanese War.

As the squadrons travelled along their route through the North Sea near the Dogger Bank located midway across Denmark as well as the eastern coat of England Some of the battleships fired at ships belonging to Hull. Hull fishing vessel. After the battle, the remaining vessels of the fleet returned to port, carrying the remains of three deceased sailors. It was a shock to the British public was stunned, and some newspapers even declared war.

A postcard from the present showing the damages to British ships after Dogger Bank. Dogger Bank incident.

In the midst of this tension, UK foreign secretary Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, who was also popularly referred to by the name of Marquess of Lansdowne, created an original method of inquiry. He merged the well-established structure that was used by the International Commission of Inquiry with the elements of the court martial. Five admirals from the top navies of the world (including Britain and Russia, as well as France as well as Austria-Hungary, the United States and Austria-Hungary) served as judges to decide who was responsible for the civilian deaths.

Following the incident, when Britain threatened to employ to use the Royal Navy to prevent the Russian fleet from relocating to Vigo which is located to the north of Spain, Russia accepted the first international inquiry that had an obligation to examine personal accountability and guilt. Four officers were sent in the Commission to be a part of it, however they maintained that the whole incident was the result of an Japanese sneak attack that was allegedly conducted by torpedo boats that were sourced from an North Sea neutral country, like Sweden.

It was the Dogger Bank inquiry in session 1905.

When the commission gathered the commission in Paris on January 19, 1905, it was reported by all major newspapers across both sides of the Atlantic. It was like a criminal trial: British and Russian representatives were like defenders and prosecutors and vigorously interrogated each witnesses of the other and technical experts.

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