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Russian UN Resolution Opposes Tribunal in Airliner Crash

  • Associated Press

FILE - A crane transports a piece of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 wreckage at the crash site in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, Nov. 20, 2014.

FILE - A crane transports a piece of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 wreckage at the crash site in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, Nov. 20, 2014.

Russia has introduced a U.N. resolution demanding that those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last year be brought to justice, but eliminating the international tribunal that the five countries investigating the crash are seeking to prosecute the perpetrators.

Russia said earlier this month that it opposed a draft submitted by Malaysia on behalf of the five countries that would establish an international court.

The rival Russian draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, expresses concern that the investigation isn't ensuring "due transparency in its organization and work methods, which may have a negative impact on its outcome.''

Ukraine and the West suspect that Flight MH17, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile fired by Russian soldiers or Russia-backed separatist rebels, killing all 298 people on board.

Moscow denies that, and Russian officials and state media have alleged the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian missile or warplane.

The Russian draft states that "the establishment of the true causes of this aerial incident is critical for bringing those responsible to justice'' and suggests that the International Civil Aviation Organization "could play a more active and appropriate role in this investigation.''

The Security Council met behind closed doors Monday so that Russia's ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, could go through the text.

The resolution circulated by the five countries investigating the crash — Malaysia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Australia and Belgium — was drafted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which can be enforced militarily.

It states that the downing of the plane "and its implications for the safety of civil aviation, constitute a threat to international peace and security.'' It would authorize an international tribunal to bring those responsible to justice and includes a statute establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for Flight MH17 in an annex to the resolution.

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