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Families of German victims of MH17 are to sue Ukraine

Three of the families are to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Part of the wreckage of MH17
Part of the wreckage of MH17
Image: NBAAI

RELATIVES OF GERMAN victims of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plan to sue Ukraine and its president for criminal negligence for not closing the country’s airspace, a lawyer representing them has confirmed.

Elmar Giemulla, an attorney and professor of aviation law who is representing three German families, said he would file suit soon before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“Every country bears the responsibility for the security of its airspace,” he wrote in a statement.

By keeping its airspace open for transit by aircraft from other countries, the state must ensure the safety of the flights. If this is temporarily impossible, it means that it should close its airspace.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on 17 July, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch.

Four were German, according to the airline.

The findings of an initial report by a Dutch-led team of air crash investigators appear to back up claims that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile.

Kiev and the West have accused separatists of shooting it down with a surface-to-air BUK missile supplied by Russia — a charge Moscow denies.

Giemulla said in an email he would file the lawsuit against the Ukrainian government and President Petro Poroshenko alleging 298 counts of manslaughter by negligence in about two weeks, and seek damages for pain and suffering of at least €1 million per victim.

He said the litigation would not target Russia as “the evidence was not yet sufficient” but added that he did not rule out launching a lawsuit against Moscow in future.

- © AFP. 2014

Read: Flight MH17 broke up in the air after being pierced by ‘high-energy objects’  > 

Read: Malaysia Airlines to fire 6,000 workers and set up a new company > 

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