Dutch coalition really does not care about getting to the bottom of MH17 tragedy

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As soon as MH17 was shot down the Dutch government seemed to be not very interested in taking action. It took a long time before Dutch investigators showed up at the crash site. It took several months to recover most human remains and important debris which could be helpfull in the reconstruction of the aircraft. Even after all important debris were recovered human remains continued to be found at the crash site.

At January 13 and 14 a new low was reached and again showed suspicious and ‘keeping things under wraps’ behaviour of the Dutch government.

In 2014  two debates on MH17 were held attended by a small group of members of Parliament. These so called Algemeen Overleg Commissie Buitenlandse Zaken is used to ask questions to responsible ministers. Each fraction is represented by a single member of Parliament. Pieter Omtzigt (CDA) and Sjoerd Sjoerdsma (D66) are by far the best informed members and ask many critical questions.

A full report of what happened so far in Dutch parliament on MH17 is documented here.

Back to January 13. In a general session at the Tweede Kamer (Dutch Parliament) Pieter Omtzigt requested a plenary debate in the Tweede Kamer on two topics:

  • what the Dutch government knew about the safety situation of East  Ukraine airspace before July 17.
  • about the prosecution. Does the Dutch government wants to prosecute in the Netherlands or using an international tribunal

The parties in the coalition (VVD and PvdA) both said they will not support such a plenary debate. Also SGP (which supports the coalition in many topics) did not support the request. These parties believe the debate should be held in the Commissie (Commission)  as done before. VVD suggested to use a procedurevergadering (procedure meeting). A procedure vergadering discusses topics like planning , responses  of Commissie meetings.

The goal of the coalition was to keep the MH17 out of sight of the main public. A plenary debate has much more exposure than a Commissie meeting

The transscript of the debate can be read here. At the end of the debate Pieter Omtzigt requests for a so called dertigledendebat. This is a limit plenary debate. Each fraction in the Parliament has only 3 minutes of speaking in this type of debate. The chairman will make sure the dertigledendebate is put on the agenda.

A dertigledendebate provides an opportunity to debate on a topic which a majority of the parlement does not want to organize a full regular debate for.

The next day it was made public that the coalition parties try to move the date of the Algemeen Overleg (scheduled for March)  to an earlier date. The Algemeen Overleg is now scheduled for January 27. Pieter Omtzigt who is by far the most critical member of Parliament in the MH17 case is not able to attend at January 27. At that date he will be presenting his Snowden report in Straatsburg. This is the only day Pieter Omtzigt is not able to attend. What a coincidence is that.

VVD and PvdA also tried during the procedurevergadering at January 14 to transfer the MH17 debate from the Commissie Buitenlandse Zaken to the  commissie van Veiligheid en Justitie. This is another try of the coalition to putt Pieter Omtzigt offside as he isn’t a member of the   commissie van Veiligheid en Justitie.

To be able to make these changes in the procedure. VVD and PvdA let addional member of parliament attend the procedurevergadering so the coalition got a majority of votes.

After the opposition showed they disagreed to this transfer  it was decided that the Commisie Buitenlandse Zaken will decide whether to transfer the MH17 debate to the commissie van Veiligheid en Justitie or not.

On Thursday January 15 the Commissie Buitenlandse Zaken decided the MH17 debate will be kept in this commissie. At a later time it might be transfered to other commissions like  I&M, V&J, BZK, BuZa and Defensie.

It is remarkable only the online newsagency NU.NL reported about this. All other Dutch main stream media did not report about this try of the Dutch government to block the main criticaster.

At January 16 the dertigledendebat is indeed added to the agenda. However it is listed almost at the end of a long list of scheduled debates. This means the plenary debate  (with limited speaking time) on MH17 will probably we held in about TEN months from now (January 2015).

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