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Australia asks UN to set up criminal tribunal to probe MH17 crash

Malaysia Asks UN to Set up MH17

Melbourne:  Australia today requested the UN to set up an international criminal tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over conflict-ridden Ukraine last year.

“The establishment of an international criminal tribunal would send a clear message that the international community will not tolerate acts that threaten international peace and security by endangering civil aviation,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.

“A tribunal would ensure broad international support for prosecutions and would maximise the prospects of securing international cooperation, which will be necessary for an effective prosecution,” Bishop said.

The countries undertaking the independent criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have asked the UN Security Council to establish an international criminal tribunal to try those responsible for crimes connected to it.

Flight MH17 was shot down over conflict-ridden eastern Ukraine while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam on July 17 last year killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.

The aircraft is presumed to have been hit by a missile during fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

“Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine consider an independent international criminal tribunal established by the Council, reflecting the highest international standards, would be the best means of ensuring justice for the victims and their loved ones,” Bishop said.

“It would also be an appropriate response to the fact that the incident and the related implications for the safety of civil aviation affect the interests of the international community as a whole. The five countries are working to secure the support of Security Council Members for the tribunal,” she said.

“Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine call upon members of the Security Council to support this proposal to ensure that those responsible are held to account and to deter those who would threaten civil aviation,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, a national memorial service will be held in the Great Hall at Canberra based Parliament House on Friday, when Prime Minister Tony Abbott will unveil a plaque bearing the names of the 38 victims who called Australia home.

The plaque will be installed alongside that which honours 88 Australians killed in the 2002 Bali bombings.

The Australian flag will be flown at half-mast on all government buildings as a mark of respect.

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