At August 7 2014 a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was formed to start a criminal investigation into the downing of MH17. States initially participating in the JIT were the Netherlands, Ukraine, Australia and Belgium.
A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is an investigation team set up for a fixed period, based on an agreement between two or more EU Member States and/or competent authorities, for a specific purpose. Non EU Member States may participate in a JIT with the agreement of all other parties. (source Europol)
Two Europol member states should participate in a JIT. That is the reason for Belgium to be part of JIT. There has been no information on any activities of Belgium into the criminal investigation of the downing of MH17. Therefore I conclude the role of Belgium is a formal one.
Remarkably, Malaysia was initialy not part of JIT. Only after Malaysia threatened to not cooperate in the investigation, Malaysia was accepted as member of JIT.
Unknown why Malaysia was not member of JIT right from the start
In November 2014 it was made known public by Malaysia that they were not part of the JIT. Also information became public revealing that the JIT agreement was secret. The Dutch government did not release the content of the JIT agreement.
At November 28 2014 the Dutch prosecutor officialy acknowledged that Malaysia was accepted as a full member of JIT. (source)
At the end of March 2015 a delegation of the Dutch prosecutor went to Malaysia to finalize the agreements with Malaysia on the full JIT membership. (source)
Officially it was never made public why Malaysia joined JIT only after almost 4 months after the start of JIT. Background in this post.
MH17 is a very political crash. This is one of the reasons why after almost two years the public still does not know what happened. Politics started when Ukraine did not want the Netherlands to recognize Luhansk and Donetsk People Republic (LPR/DPR). For recovery of bodies documents had to be signed. Dutch staff of the recovery team had to make sure their signature was not an acknowledgement of the LPR or DPR.
Ukraine probably did not trust Malaysia as Malaysia has friendly relations with Moscow. This might be a reason for Ukriane to veto participation of Malaysia.
Russia Today quotes Mohamed Harridon, a professor in Malaysia.
“When the crash happened, we did not blame any parties, neither Russia nor Ukraine, as we would like to take a look at the concrete evidence,” head associate professor in research and aviation at Kuala Lumpur University, Dr. Mohamed Harridon, told RT. He added that unlike “western counterparts,” Malaysia has taken a “neutral role,” and not “pointed fingers at Russia,” which could be the reason for the country’s exclusion from the investigation.
Crucial role of Malaysia in obtaining black boxes.
Malaysis did not obey to Western politics. They negotiated with the separatists who recovered the black boxes. Prime Minister Razak had telephone coversations with leaders of the DPR. It resulted in the black boxes being handed over to Malaysia. The complete story is documented here.
In this article in a Malaysian newspaper transport Ministry explains Msia’s “reluctance” to cooperate in MH17 probe
Unknown role of Malaysia in JIT investigation
In the limited number of public communications by JIT it is not mentioned what the role of Malaysia is in the criminal investigation. The public was informed by JIT that both Dutch and Australian police officers are working on the case. However there is no information on the role of Malaysian policemen.
JIT released an e-zine with information on the progress of the criminal investigation. In the e-zine we see a videoconference with Malaysian policemen. While Australia and the Netherlands are present in a so called field office in Ukraine, Malaysia is not present in Ukraine as it seems.
Response of JIT about questions on role
I asked the spokesman of the Dutch prosecutor, Wim de Bruin, two questions about the role of Malaysia in JIT:
- why wasn’t Malaysia a full member of JIT right from the start of JIT?
- what is the role of Malaysia in the criminal investigation?
The answer of de Bruin was:
I would like to merely refer to previous communications about the membership of Malaysia, a member of the JIT.
I searched for previous communications by JIT about the delayed membership of Malaysia and their role but was not able to find any.
Questions asked in Dutch parliament
Member of Parliament Omtzigt and Bontes requested at June 2 2016 that the Dutch government informs the parliament about the status of the criminal investigation. This because the Malaysian PM Razak stated that Malaysia will cooperate with Russia after JIT released a report in October. JIT denied it will release a report in October. Around mid June a response is expected.
Russia and Malaysia cooperating
To be continued..by