Malaysia Will Charge Suspect Who Shot Down MH17, Says A-G

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THE suspect who allegedly shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17 in Ukraine will be charged in Malaysia as the aircraft was national property, says Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to carry out any charges on the case as both Malaysia and the Netherlands have said they wished to take action against the culprits, Gani said in a recent interview at his office in Putrajaya.

"In this case, Malaysia and Holland said they wanted to press charges, so the ICC has no jurisdiction over this," he told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the ICC's powers were limited to war crimes such as genocide and civil wars, and in which no country was pressing charges.
Gani said that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) only handled cases of conflict between two countries, and not incidents like the downing of MH17.

The country's top lawyer said Malaysia had made clear that it wished to bring the guilty parties to the country and charge them under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, or Sosma.

"Our stance is clear, Malaysia wants to charge them here under our Act.

"We have our laws and we will use them. Otherwise, there is no point having parliamentarians and the Parliament to pass the act," he said.

Gani added that if the culprits who shot down the flight and killed all 298 people aboard were identified, they w‎ould be extradited to Malaysia and charged here.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had previously said that under Sosma, Malaysia has the right to use its own laws to take legal action on any crime against the country,‎ including those committed abroad.

But Wan Junaidi said that the culprit must first be identified, evidence must be gathered, and permission obtained from the suspect's country before they can be brought to Malaysia and charged here.

Gani (pic, left) said the suspect would be charged under Sosma and the Aviation Offences Act 1948.

"But we must first identify the culprit," he said.

When asked whether Malaysia would allow the Netherlands to press charges, as the majority of passengers on the flight were Dutch citizens, Gani said that the responsibility of taking legal action fell on Malaysia's shoulders.

Of the 298 people killed in the Kuala Lumpur-bound flight, which took off from Amsterdam on July 17, 1‎95 were Dutch nationals and 43 Malaysians.

"That flight is our right, we will charge them because it is under our jurisdiction," Gani said, adding that the plane was shot down in Ukraine, not the Netherlands.

But he said the case would take time to build as evidence must be gathered before they could initiate charges.

Up to today, no one has claimed responsibility for shooting down MH17, with Russian and Ukrainian authorities blaming one another for the tragedy that occurred over Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, a region controlled by pro-Russian militants.

The downing of MH17 was the second tragedy to hit the national airline, just four months after the disappearance of flight MH370.

Home Minister‎ Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that investigations on the Malaysia Airlines jetliner were 50% underway based on‎ evidence extracted from the crash site and witness testimonies.

He said the international team of investigators had uncovered personal items as well as the plane's cockpit ‎at a poultry farm near the site of the crash.

"Preliminary investigations found shrapnel from the cockpit, but the investigation team will probably take three more weeks to remove the remnants of the aircraft from the crash site," he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang yesterday.

Zahid said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar was only allowed to be within a 20km radius of the crash site for an hour and a half.

There are currently 87 officers and members of the Royal Malaysian Police stationed in Soledar, Ukraine to continue with the investigation.