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2015年10月20日 (火)

マレー機撃墜 ロシアは事件捜査に協力せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Russia must cooperate in investigating downing of Malaysian jet over Ukraine
マレー機撃墜 ロシアは事件捜査に協力せよ

Even though more than one year has passed since the tragic event that killed nearly 300 people, there has been no prospect of prosecuting the perpetrators of the crime. This is an extremely grave situation.

The safety board of the Netherlands has released its final report on the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Flight over eastern Ukraine in July last year. The largest number of victims were Dutch.

After a detailed analysis of the downing of the plane as fighting continued between Ukrainian government forces and the pro-Russian armed separatists group, the report concluded that the plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile.

The report said the missile was probably launched somewhere in an area covering about 320 square kilometers in eastern Ukraine. This suggests the involvement of the armed rebels that controlled most of the area.

The United States, European countries and the Ukrainian government say that, after analyzing records of communications and radar reports, the armed separatist group fired a missile on the Malaysian aircraft, mistakenly believing it was a Ukrainian Air Force plane.

Yet the final report did not go so far as to identify the perpetrator. Although the safety board does not have the authority to apportion blame, we can understand the growing anger among bereaved families of the victims.

A criminal investigation, aimed at identifying the perpetrators, will be put into the hands of a joint team comprising officials from such countries as the Netherlands, Malaysia, Ukraine, the United States and Russia.

A number of suspected perpetrators have apparently already emerged. Making full use of the findings of the safety board, the joint team has to apportion blame for the barbaric action.

Obstacle to probe

An obstacle to the criminal investigation is that both Russia and the armed separatist group have consistently denied involvement. Both have asserted that there is a possibility the Ukrainian forces, which possess Buk missiles, shot down the plane. We think neither of them is cooperative with the investigation.

Shortly after the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration tacitly agreed that the pro-Russian separatists should block access of an international investigation team to the crash site.

In July, Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing the airliner, leading to the draft resolution being rejected.

The actions taken by Russia will only increase distrust toward that country.

To identify the site where the missile was launched from and to prosecute those suspected of downing the airliner, the provision of relevant information from Russia is essential. It is important for the international community to support the joint investigation team and press Russia to cooperate.

In determining what happened, it is urgently needed to stabilize the local situation in eastern Ukraine.

Although the fighting has been in a lull since last month, the withdrawal of heavy weapons of both the Ukrainian government forces and the separatists has made little progress, delaying the implementation of a ceasefire accord.

To avoid the conflict from continuing for a protracted period, the United States, European countries and Japan should cooperate with each other and continue urging the parties involved to abide by the ceasefire accord.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2015)


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