Russia has Rejected a Request from the Netherlands to Interrogate a Witness in the MH17 Case
OREANDA-NEWS. In the District Court of The Hague on Wednesday, December 8, a regular court hearing is being held in the case of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing that was shot down in the summer of 2014 in eastern Ukraine, operating flight MH17. At this meeting, the court planned to conduct a survey of a citizen of the Russian Federation, Colonel Sergei Muchkaev, commander of the 53rd brigade of the Armed Forces of the Russia, in the location of which there was an anti-aircraft missile system of the Buk air defense system that shot down the Boeing.
The judge leading the hearing said that on November 3, a request was submitted to the Russian authorities about the possibility of questioning Muchkaev. A month later, on December 3, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation replied that it would not submit the request to the Russian court, referring to the European Convention on Legal Cooperation.
The Ministry of Justice justified its decision by saying that in court, Muchkayev would be asked questions concerning the military sphere, including state secrets, and, in accordance with the European Convention, the state can refuse a request if it harms the interests of the state. After voicing the response of the Russian side, the investigating judge came to the conclusion that the interrogation of Muchkaev is impossible.
The defense of Oleg Pulatov, the only one of the accused who agreed to cooperate with the court and testified at the meeting on November 3, asked Muchkayev to conduct a survey. The lawyers representing Pulatov's interests hoped to find out from Muchkaev whether the Buk installation was actually transported to Ukraine. The judge also noted that Oleg Pulatov did not appear at the court session, as did the other three defendants: Russian citizens Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko. All of them held senior military posts in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.