War in Ukraine / Tragedy of Flight MH 17: Urgent Call for Independent International Investigation

International Progress Organization
Information Service
Chisinau / Vienna, 26 July 2014

In a statement issued today, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, who is presently on a fact-finding visit to Eastern Europe, has called for the establishment of an impartial and independent investigation of the circumstances of the crash of Malaysian Airlines 17 over rebel-controlled territory in Eastern Ukraine. Between 2000 and 2002, Dr. Koechler served as international observer of the criminal trial following the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. He was nominated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the basis of a binding resolution of the UN Security Council.

The former UN observer explained that, because of the ongoing civil war in the eastern part of the country, the Government of Ukraine, itself a party in the conflict, is not only effectively unable to conduct an investigation, but cannot guarantee its independence and objectivity. Under these circumstances, Article 5.1 of Annex 13 (“Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation”) of the Convention on International Civil Aviation – which obliges the “State of Occurrence” to institute an investigation – is not applicable.

An investigation has to be international, Dr. Koechler explained, and it must be ensured that no party to the conflict in Ukraine is in a position to influence its outcome.

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