Source MOFA
MOSCOW, Russia: In March 2022, Australia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands filed a case against the Russian Federation in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council concerning the 2014 crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. They allege that Russia violated Article 3 bis of the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, which prohibits the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight.
Despite Russia’s objections, in March 2023 the ICAO Council asserted its competence to consider the dispute. This decision granted the Council powers similar to those of a criminal court or investigative body, which are not explicitly outlined in Article 84 of the Chicago Convention. Russia disagrees with this decision and has never recognised the Council’s authority in this matter. Nonetheless, Russia continued to participate in the proceedings, hoping to use of the ICAO platform for a professional dialogue regarding the plane crash.
To facilitate this dialogue, Russia has repeatedly proposed that the ICAO Council conduct a comprehensive, thorough, and independent international investigation into the crash of flight MH17, as mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2166 (2014) and the ICAO dispute resolution rules. However, the ICAO Council declined to initiate such an investigation. Furthermore, the previous technical investigation by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) and the criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) do not meet these criteria.
Russia was not given the opportunity to fully participate in the DSB technical investigation, and its final conclusions contain numerous inaccuracies and inconsistencies. As for the JIT (comprising Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine), it included states that were not only directly implicated in the incident but also politically opposed to Russia. Russia was not invited to participate in this Group, and its request to include Russian representatives in the JIT was rejected by the Group’s leader in 2015 on questionable grounds. Meanwhile, Australia and the Netherlands are currently presenting the outcomes of these investigations to the Council as purported evidence of Russia’s culpability.
Since the ICAO Council declined to conduct an independent investigation into the incident under its auspices, it now solely relies on the results of a biased investigation provided by one of the parties involved in the proceedings.
Furthermore, the dispute resolution mechanism of the ICAO Council was originally designed without sufficient independence to ensure impartiality. Comprising 36 member states of ICAO, its decisions are influenced by directives from their respective governments.
To ensure a fair and unbiased review, we have proposed that the 12 Council member states, excluding Australia, which publicly attributed responsibility to Russia early on, commit to abstaining from voting on the merits of the case. These twelve states had already aligned with The Hague and Canberra’s position well before considering Russia’s arguments. Therefore, the dispute resolution procedure lacked any meaning: why present evidence and arguments if these 12 representatives in the Council had already predetermined their vote based on their government’s political stance blaming Russia?
However, using their majority in the Council, these countries, along with their allies and dependent states, have ensured that they can act as judges in their own case. This situation has been endorsed, including by the President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano (Italy), and the Organisation’s Secretariat under Western control.
Under the influence of the collective West and their satellites, the ICAO Council disregarded the International Court of Justice’s ruling of January 31, 2024, in the case of Ukraine v. Russia, which dismissed claims holding Russia accountable for the MH17 flight tragedy.
The Council’s decision to forego an investigation, dismiss challenges against the involved member states, and disregard the ruling of the United Nations’ principal judicial body go against basic standards of procedural objectivity.
In these conditions, an impartial establishment of facts, let alone a fair decision, become impossible. The ICAO Council does not serve as a credible venue for uncovering the truth. Continuing our participation in the show being staged there seems futile.
For over two years, Russia presented the ICAO with comprehensive and compelling factual and legal evidence indicating that our country was not involved in the air crash. This evidence has been available to all member states of the Council. All 193 ICAO member states can now review it and draw their own conclusions. Russia has made its case clear.
It is important to acknowledge that there are voices of reason on the Council who recognise the importance of a thorough investigation. However, they constitute a minority, and those countries advocating for an objective assessment may not have their voices heard in the final decision-making process. We appreciate their steadfast and unbiased stance.
Unlike the biased majority on the Council, Russia continues to uphold UN Security Council Resolution 2166 (2014) and is committed to uncovering the true causes of the MH17 plane crash, while also remaining open to related efforts. As for the ICAO Council, let the Western countries and their satellites handle this matter among themselves now. We are ending our participation in this charade. Russia does not acknowledge the Council’s authority to entertain the allegations from Australia and the Netherlands, nor any decisions stemming from them.