The European Court of Human Rights has suspended all cases against Russia. It is still unclear what that means for the case of relatives and the Netherlands because of the shooting down of flight MH17.
Relatives hold Russia responsible for the MH17 disaster. They filed a case with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The Netherlands later joined this procedure. The case was heard in January with the question of whether the complaint is admissible. Russia denies any involvement.
Today, the Council of Europe expelled Russia from the treaty organization with immediate effect. The council, which monitors democracy and the rule of law in Europe, does not want to let the Russian invasion of Ukraine go its way.
Now that Russia is no longer a member and is about to withdraw from the treaty, ordinary Russians can no longer claim their rights at the court in Strasbourg. They must also fear that Russia will again carry out the death penalty, which had been shelved upon accession but never abolished.
The court announced today that all cases against Russia are being suspended. The MH17 Flight Disaster Foundation thinks that it will not have major consequences for the case surrounding flight MH17. Russia was probably already planning to ignore a negative outcome, if the court decides that the country must pay compensation, according to chairman Piet Ploeg.
The expectations of the relatives were not high in that regard, Ploeg outlines. For example, the Russian constitution stipulates that judgments made outside Russia can be reviewed by the Russian court.
Finding the Truth
It is not about compensation for the next of kin, but about ‘finding the truth and reparation’. “We think it’s important that a country that does something like this is held accountable,” says Ploeg.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously announced that the case of the relatives, which is supported by the Netherlands, can continue as usual. Current affairs are in principle simply completed.
The court, which still has to deal with the content of the MH17 case, will only rule if the opposing party has responded. The question is whether Russia will respond to the complaint and, if not, how the court will decide.