Bali Links: Murder Verdict in MH17 Tragedy

On 17 July 2014, a Malaysian Airline Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by Russian-controlled forces over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The shoot-down occurred during the war in Donbas, an area controlled by Russian separatist forces.

The initial findings of the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) and a Dutch Government investigative team that the missile was fired by the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Federation was affirmed last week by the Dutch Courts on Thursday, 27 November 2022. Lead Justice Hendrik Steenhuis declared that the Dutch Court found that MF17 was hit by a Russian-made BUK missile launched from a farm field near Peryomaisk, Mykolaiv Oblast in Ukraine, resulting in the death of 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers.

Dutch Tribunal

The ruling by the Dutch Court was handed down more than eight years after the catastrophe. Steenhuis said the Court had conclusively found that Russians were in complete control of the rebel troops operating in eastern Ukraine at the time of the incident that saw a field of crash debris spread across a wide area, including a field used to cultivate sunflowers. The Dutch Court also convicted in absentia for terrorism and murder two Russians and one pro-Moscow Ukrainian who failed to answer the summons to appear before the panel of judges. 

The three remain at large and were sentenced to life imprisonment. 

A fourth Russian man was found not guilty due to a lack of evidence. 

(L to R) Sentenced to Life in Prison:, Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Leonid Kharchenko

The three mass murderers who are now under an international warrant for their arrest are:

·        Igor Girkin (51)(a/k/a Igoe Ivanovich Strelkov) – a former colonel in the Russian Federal Security Service (the primary successor agency to the former KGB). At the time of the incident, Girkin was the minister of defense and armed forces commander for the Donetsk People’s Republic militia. He was dismissed from his position one month after the missile attack. Girkin has publicly admitted “moral responsibility” for the attack but denies actually “pushing the button” that fired the missile.

·        Sergey Dubinsky, a Ukrainian serving under Girkin’s command. 

·        Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian serving under Dubinskiy’s command.

A fourth man, Oleg Pulatovis, the only indicted man represented by legal counsel, was found not guilty by the Court due to a lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly refused responsibility for the shoot-down of MH17. The Russian Foreign Affair Minister has pledged to review the decision of the Dutch Court carefully.

The vicious missile attack on MH 17 caused the death of 283 passengers and 15 crew. The death toll of 298 comprised:

· 27 Australians

· 4 Belgians

· 1 Canadian

· 4 Germany

· 12 Indonesians

· 43 Malaysians

· 193 Dutch Citizens

· 1 New Zealander

· 3 Philippines

· 10 United Kingdom

The tragedy was sorely felt on the Island of Bali, with many foreigners and Indonesians who died in the plane’s downing had family, friends, and lovers in Bali.

If anyone knows the physical whereabouts of any of these three men, they should report that information to their local police or the nearest Interpol office.