Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad published an interview (archive) with chief prosecutor of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie) Fred Westerbeke. Westerbeke is the lead for the criminal investigation (JIT) on MH17.
Some of his statements are:
- Intelligence services from Ukraine (SBU) have recorded hundreds of thousands of telephone conversations in what are terrorism investigations for them. Many more recordings are now available, but now they can only be released by completing the criminal cases.
- There will be no report published. All findings of the JIT will be handed over to the court.
- It is a civil war in Eastern Ukraine.
- For JIT it is very important to know: why the BUK was used to down a civilian aircraft, and not a fighterjet of transport plane belonging to Ukraine. As this was likely the target.
- MH17 was likely downed by accident. It is an important scenerio but still not sure if an error was indeed the cause
- The question is: what did the crew of the BUK know? What did the commanders know? Based on what information did they take the decision. And are they liable? To get more insight witness are very important.
- This was not a mistake made by a single person.
- It is such a complex investigation as it needs to be determined why multiple persons made a mistake
- The radar recordings are not important for the investigation. The investigation into the radar images is almost ready. All radarexperts will confirm that a missile most likely is not detected on radar because of its 3x speed of sound and small surface.
- Westerbeke cannot tell when the investigation will end.