MH17 victim families sue Putin, Russia in European rights court
Families of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, are suing President Vladimir Putin and Russia for Aus$10 million each in the European Court of Human Rights, The Sydney Morning Herald reports today.
The compensation claim was filed with the Strasbourg-based court by Sydney legal firm LHD Lawyers on May 9 on behalf of 33 next of kin from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, the Herald said.
All 298 passengers and crew -- the majority of them Dutch -- died when the Boeing 777 was hit by a Russian-made BUK anti-aircraft missile over war-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The documents filed by LHD Lawyers allege that the Russian Federation has worked to keep its involvement in the plane disaster hidden.
Jerry Skinner, a co-associate of LHD whose signature is on the claim, told the Herald that his clients wanted accountability.
"They want enough money to reflect that the Russians take this seriously," the paper quoted Skinner as saying.
Officials with the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) concluded last year as part of an international investigation that the Boeing 777 was hit by a BUK missile.
In February, a separate criminal investigation team said they hoped within months to pinpoint the exact spot from which the missile was fired.
Some families are also considering suing Malaysia Airlines for damages over loss of earnings as well as compensation for the "psychological" trauma of losing loved ones.