Navigating the Legal Horizon: Lawyering the MH17 Disaster

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Marieke de Hoon, Assistant Professor Politics of International Criminal Justice, International Law and HumanRights Law at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam published at April 12 a very interesting paper discussing options for prosecution of suspects of the MH17 shotdown. The paper also describes legal options against states as well as civil litigation.

The paper titled ” Navigating the Legal Horizon: Lawyering the MH17 Disaster.” is published by the Utrecht Journal of International and European Law.


The efforts to find justice have faced many complications and legal complexities. This article aims to provide insight into these legal and political complexities. In particular, it discusses the core legal questions of the criminal accountability of the perpetrators and the State responsibility of those States involved —Ukraine and Russia— through the legal doctrines of public international law and the European Convention on Human Rights.

It further offers some core considerations relating to civil liability of States and airline carriers. In addition to providing insight into why the road to justice is long and arduous, the legal options available, and the specific challenges of each, the article also emphasises that having a legal option does not necessarily mean that it is also the best choice to use it. That choice is up to victims’ relatives and the States concerned. The article takes no position in this regard. Instead, it seeks to provide an analysis that may contribute to making such decisions in an informed manner.

The content of the paper is:

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