Key countries call for tribunal for Malaysia Airlines crash

AP News
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Posted: Jun 25, 2015 5:55 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The five countries investigating last year's shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine are calling for an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Thursday that her government is committed to working with Malaysia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Belgium, "and the broader international community to secure justice for the families of the victims.

"The means for achieving this are currently being discussed by relevant countries," she said.

Ukraine and the West suspect Flight MH17 was destroyed by a Russian surface-to-air missile fired by Russian forces or separatist rebels fighting in the area. The Russian maker of the Buk air defense missile system reported this month that the aircraft was downed by an older version of the missile that is not used by the Russian military but is in Ukrainian arsenals.

A U.N. diplomat said the five countries want the U.N. Security Council to establish a U.N. tribunal that would prosecute those responsible. Last week, their legal experts came to New York to meet with council legal advisors, the diplomat said.

Another diplomat said the legal experts presented a draft statute to establish a tribunal and a draft U.N. resolution that would authorize it.

Both diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private.

Malaysia's U.N. Ambassador Ramlan Bin Ibrahim told reporters Thursday "the subject has been moved over to capitals to review."

"We hope" to take up a draft resolution in the council in July, he said. "We can only hope for the best."

Diplomats said Russia, a veto-wielding council member, holds the key to adoption of a resolution.

Ibrahim said Malaysia has had preliminary discussions with Russia "but it's too early to say" whether Moscow will support a resolution.

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Associated Press Writer Rob McGurk contributed to this report from Sydney