The Netherlands and Ukraine are pursuing Moscow over its pre-February 2022 moves in eastern Ukraine.

Europe’s highest human rights court has ruled that cases brought by the Netherlands and Ukraine against Russia over alleged human rights abuses in eastern Ukraine in 2014, including the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight, can be adjudicated. MH17.

Wednesday’s ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) marks a major advance in efforts by the Dutch and Ukrainian governments to hold Russia legally accountable for its actions in Ukraine and could pave the way for compensation orders. The court said that the ruling on the merits of the case will be followed at a later date.

The cases were filed before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022.

“Very good news: the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights is another important step in finding truth and justice for the victims and their relatives of Flight MH17,” Dutch Justice Minister Dylan Yeselgosz-Zygerius said in a tweet.

Flight MH17 departed from Amsterdam and was bound for Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, where fighting broke out between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces, a precursor to the ongoing conflict. All 298 passengers and crew members were killed.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra also welcomed the ruling as a milestone in the search for accountability.

“We will continue to do everything we can to achieve justice for all of the 298 victims of Flight MH17 and their loved ones,” he wrote on Twitter.

The court said evidence presented at last year’s hearing proved that as of May 11, 2014, the regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by the separatist rebels were “under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation” and that Moscow “had a significant influence on the military strategy of the separatists,” including. This includes providing weapons and carrying out artillery attacks requested by the rebels and providing them with political and economic support.

Moscow denies any involvement or responsibility in the downing of MH17 and in 2014 also denied any presence in Ukraine.

The European Court of Human Rights has said there is sufficient evidence to prove the admissibility of most of Ukraine’s allegations of rights violations and a case linked to the MH17 overthrow made by Netherlands. She said that a few of the allegations are inadmissible.

The Strasbourg Court is an important part of the Council of Europe, the most important human rights institution on the continent. Russia was kicked out of the council last year in an unprecedented move over Moscow’s invasion and war in Ukraine. However, the court can still handle cases against Russia dating back to before its expulsion.

Marieke de Hoon, assistant professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam, said the ECHR’s statement was “extremely clear”.

“The court said today that it is now clear beyond reasonable doubt that from April 2014 onwards, the Russian armed forces were active in the Donbass,” she told Al Jazeera, referring to the eastern region of Ukraine. Also because of this, Russia was obliged to guarantee human rights in this area.

The cases in Strasbourg are separate from the criminal trial in the Netherlands in which two Russians and a Ukrainian rebel were convicted in absentia in November of multiple murders for their roles in the downing of MH17.

In its case before the Human Rights Court, the Netherlands argues that Moscow played a major role in the downing of MH17 and argues that Russia’s failure to investigate and its lack of cooperation with Dutch prosecutors, along with its denials of involvement, have compounded the suffering. To friends and relatives of the dead.

Dutch prosecutors said the missile system that shot down the MH17 was trucked to Ukraine from a military base in Russia and returned there after the shootdown.

Ukraine has filed lawsuits against Moscow alleging numerous violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, including “unlawful military attacks against civilians causing numerous deaths, including the shooting down of MH17, summary executions and beatings of civilians to death” and soldiers’ no. Participation in hostilities. Russia has also been accused of kidnapping 85 Ukrainian children.

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