Whilst the first week of preliminary hearings in the MH17 case that took place in the Netherlands did not bring major revelations, it serves as a test that will no doubt be used in the future trials against higher-ranked Kremlin officials.
This opinion was voiced by aviation law expert Andriy Guck on the latest edition of Hromadske’s Weekly Wrap-Up.
Aviation law expert and partner at the Ante Law Firm Andriy Guсk in Hromadske studio, Kyiv, March 13, 2020.
He believes that “if this court acknowledges this approach, how all evidence is compared together” and if it delivers the final decision based on the presented evidence, it will be applicable for the next steps involving Moscow's whole chain of command responsible for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing in the summer of 2014.
We will see the first signs of how the court treats the defense and the prosecutor's office.
Aviation law expert and former member of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine Andriy Kozlov agrees and adds that it is impossible that transportation of such a “state-of-the-art weapon as Buk” abroad could have gone unnoticed and without the express consent of the Kremlin.
Russia lies about ‘militia and combatants’ will come to the surface sooner or later.
He argues that with so many details and hard evidence at this stage, we will be in for many surprises when the issue is heard on the merits.
Aviation law expert and former member of High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine Andriy Kozlov in Hromadske studio, Kyiv, March 13, 2020.
On top of that Kozlov draws attention to an “alarming call” from the Hague for Russia after Ukrainian prosecutors were brought in to the JIT.
“Russia didn't think Ukraine had any subjective role in this investigation. They didn’t treat Ukraine seriously.”
But in his opinion, things are getting “serious for Russia” now, which means they will have to find some maneuvers.
Guck proceeds to say that Russia’s previous narrative of “them not being there” will no longer sell with so many details unveiled including intercepted conversations of the FSB and GRU, and hacks into the Malaysian police.
“Even though Russia still [continues to] deny, they will have no choice but to admit their involvement.”
Moreover, “Russia will feel the decisions of the courts,” experts agree, with fingers being pointed globally for not solving the case. Besides, Guck notes there is a lot of Russian property that is very “arrestable”, which leads to Kozlov predicting a change in the paradigm of Moscow’s perception in the West.
Cutting all links with Russia from a business point of view is dangerous, but there are things of much higher value than ‘business as usual’ if a country becomes a terrorist organization. [That would pose] a problem for the international community.
One thing experts do disagree on is the potential impact on the trial of the spread of the coronavirus. Whilst Guck believes all preparations have been made to ensure the smooth process, including the construction of a separate complex and two back-up judges, Kozlov points out that if the outbreak spreads further, it may result in delays. He quotes the presiding judge who did not rule out this scenario.