Dutch government still has not answered questions on state liability promised in September 2017

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In a September 2017 debate a couple of Dutch members of parliament requested the government to make clear what the position of the government is regarding state liability on MH17. The minster promised he would write a letter. However, in May 2018 the questions on how Dutch state will act regarding state liability remain unanswered.

The mandate of the Joint Investigation Team is to find suspects responsible for the downing of MH17. It cannot prosecute states. A state, Russian Federation and Ukraine, need to be brought into court by either the Dutch State of the relatives.

The Dutch minister in the September 2017 debate stated he would do its best to send a letter on state liability before the end of 2017.

At January 11, 2018 the Commission for Foreign affairs requests the Government to sent a ‘Stand van zaken’ letter on MH17.

At February 13, Minister Grapperhaus sent a letter saying he in unable to provide the requested letter on time.

Finally the letter was sent in 9 March 2018. The letter did not have any details on if and how the Dutch state would start legal actions towards states. The letter was basically a basic lecture on liability. It is incredible Dutch government needs 3,5 years to produce such an useless letter.


In the meanwhile the Dutch Parlement Commission for Foreign Affairs had planned a debate on MH17 in February. The letter of the Government would be discussed in this debate. As the letter was delayed, the debate was postponed to a later date. In stead, another Commission (Justice and Safety) planned a session to prepare a letter for the government. The session was at April 12. At April 21 the Commission sent a letter to Dutch government about state liability and how Dutch government will help the relatives in legal cases. The letter titled ‘Lijst van vragen over de Staatsaansprakelijkheid MH17 ‘ had 53 questions.

Normally a letter with questions for the government is answered within three weeks. At the moment of writing it has been 4 weeks ago. However between April 27 and May 14 the Parliament had holidays.

Other questions related to legal steps were asked by MP Van Dam. At April 21 he asked 6 questions on the legal support of relatives by Dutch government.

At May 3 Minister Grapperhuis for Justice and Safety department responded to the ‘Kamervragen over de ondersteuning van nabestaanden van vliegramp MH17 bij de afwikkeling van schade’.  The minister stated he needs more time to answer the questions.

At May 28 the government responded to the questions here.

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