Survivors of German victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 downed over Ukraine plan to sue the country and its president for manslaughter by negligence in 298 cases, the lawyer representing them said on Sunday.
Professor of aviation law Elmar Giemulla, who is representing three families of German victims, said that under international law Ukraine should have closed its air space if it could not guarantee the safety of flights.
“Each state is responsible for the security of its air space,” Giemulla said in a statement emailed to Reuters. “If it is not able to do so temporarily, it must close its air space. As that did not happen, Ukraine is liable for the damage.”
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Bild am Sonntag Sunday newspaper quoted Giemulla as saying that by not closing its airspace, Ukraine had accepted that the lives of hundreds of innocent people would be “annihilated” and this was a violation of human rights.
The jetliner crashed in Ukraine in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, killing 298 people, two-thirds of them from the Netherlands. Four Germans died in the crash.
Ukraine and Western countries have accused the rebels of shooting the plane down with an advanced, Russian-made missile. Russia has rejected accusations that it supplied the rebels with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems.
Giemulla planned to hand his case to the European Court of Human Rights in about two weeks, accusing Ukraine and its President Petro Poroshenko of manslaughter by negligence in 298 cases. He would also push for compensation of up to one million euros ($1.3 million) per victim, Bild am Sonntag reported.
So far, the airline has offered survivors of each victim $5,000 in financial assistance but has said that would not be taken off final compensation or affect families’ legal rights to claim.
Buk-M1 Missile In Action
The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation released the following statement in connection with the crash of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.
“In view of the objective investigation of the air crash of the Boeing 777 that crashed on the territory of Ukraine, it is necessary to conduct thorough investigation with the involvement of representatives of all interested international organizations.
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According to the Russian Defense Ministry, there are units of the [E.U. Overthrown Kiev Controlled] Ukrainian Armed Forces on the disaster area; the units are armed with anti-aircraft missile systems Buk-M1.
In the area of northwestern outskirts of Donetsk, divisions of the 156th anti-aircraft missile regiment of the Armed Forces of [E.U. Overthrown Kiev Controlled] Ukraine are deployed, with 27 Buk M1 complexes. These complexes, on their tactical and technical characteristics, are capable of detecting air targets at distances of up to 160 kilometers and striking them at all altitudes at a range of over 30 kilometers. Moreover, in the skies over the Donetsk region, aircraft of the [E.U. Overthrown Kiev Controlled] Ukrainian Air Force equipped with different types of missiles are constantly present. This is an undeniable fact.
“Statements from official [E.U. Overthrown] Kiev saying that those complexes or aircraft did not open fire on air targets raise serious doubts.
In such a short period of time, making such unequivocal conclusions under the conditions of fierce fighting in the area is impossible. Such responsible statements that entail serious legal consequences, require full investigation.
“In connection with all sorts of [E.U. Overthrown Kiev Controlled] insinuations concerning the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the border regions of Ukraine, we herewith responsibly declare that:
- “On July 17, air defense systems of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were not working in the area.
- “The aircraft of the Air Force of Russia were not performing any sorties on July 17 in the regions bordering on the Donetsk region.
- “This information is fully confirmed by means of objective control.
- “One should pay attention to the fact that Boeing 777 was conducting the flight beyond the range of air defense systems of the Russian Federation. The aircraft was flying in the airspace of Ukraine, under the control of its air traffic management system.
“We urge the international community to conduct thorough investigation of the disaster.”
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