Key countries want UN tribunal for MH17

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.

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A UN diplomat says Australia, Malaysia, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Belgium “want the Security Council to establish a UN tribunal that would prosecute those responsible”.

Last week, their legal experts were in New York to meet with the council’s legal advisers, the diplomat said.

Another diplomat said the legal experts presented a draft statute to establish a tribunal and a draft UN resolution that would authorise it.

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

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop would not confirm that the five countries were pushing for a UN tribunal, although she said she was aware of media reports around the proposals.

She said Australia was committed to working with 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 and it would not be appropriate to go into details at this time,” she said.

Malaysia’s UN ambassador, Ramlan Ibrahim, told reporters on 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 the adoption of a resolution.

Ramlan said Malaysia has had preliminary discussions with Russia “but it’s too early to say” whether Moscow will support a resolution.

Flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in July last year, killing all 298 on board, including 38 from Australia.