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1Banner_2_Rijksmuseum_brug.png - Crash Malaysia Airlines MH17
 

Crash Malaysia Airlines MH17

On Thursday, 17 July 2014 flight MH17 of Malaysia Airlines crashed near the border between Russia and the Ukraine, killing all passengers. Among the dead were 196 Dutch nationals. Their surviving relatives are still overwhelmed by immense sadness, incomprehension and anger. The prevailing questions are: how could this happen and who is responsible?

The initial findings of the Dutch Safety Board pointed to an external cause for the air crash. On 13 October 2015, however, the Dutch Safety Board published its definitive report, revealing that the crash was due to the detonation of a warhead launched from the eastern part of Ukraine using a Buk missile system. The Dutch Safety Board furthermore concluded that even before 17 July 2014 the Ukraine had had sufficient reason to close the airspace over the eastern Ukraine as a precaution. Although the report does not give a conclusive answer to the liability issue, it does provide answers to several questions that have haunted the family members for a long time.

Under the applicable Montreal Convention, surviving relatives had two years to bring claims against Malaysia Airlines. The airline’s liability is limited to € 130,000 approximately per passenger if the airline can demonstrate that it was not culpable. If it cannot do so, there will be no limits to its liability. Beer advocaten takes the position that Malaysia Airlines cannot prove that it was not to blame. The compensation paid by the airline is not limited to € 130,000 per passenger, therefore. Beer advocaten has represented the surviving relatives of 100 victims of the crash in handling their claims against Malaysia Airlines. Meanwhile Beer advocaten’s aviation team has reached amicable settlements with the airline for the family members, which concludes this part of the proceedings.   

With the help of its international network Beer advocaten is currently exploring the possibilities of holding parties liable other than Malaysia Airlines. To this end the aviation team filed a complaint with the European Human Rights Court (‘EHRC’) on behalf of the family members in November 2018. The EHRC has taken the complaint under consideration. These proceedings are expected to take several years.

Meanwhile the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has carried out investigations to eventually bring the perpetrators to justice. The JIT report has led the Public Prosecution Service to instigate criminal proceedings against four suspects for downing the plane. The criminal proceedings will be starting on 9 March 2020 in the Court of The Hague (Schiphol location).  On behalf of the surviving relatives, Beer advocaten will exercise the victims’ rights, including the right to address the court. Beer advocaten will furthermore explore the possibilities of filing claims for compensation of any loss not yet paid.  

For more information about the representation by Beer advocaten in the MH17 case, please contact John BeerChrista Wijnakker or Marco Zwagerman at +31206732199 or by e-mail at luchtvaartteam@beeradvocaten.nl.

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