In a serie of blogposts I will show how Yana Yerlashova, a former Kremlin funded RT journalist, and Dutch blogger Max van der Werff present all kind of nonsense on MH17 with the intention to spread disinformation. They use their company or label Bonanza Media for this. Hence the ‘You have been Bonanzaed’ like in ‘You have been fooled’. This is example 7. The whole serie of examples of nonsense by this duo can be read here.
In the documentary produced by the couple German lawyer Elmar Giemulla can be seen. At October 7, 2019 Yerlashova & Van der Werff published a longer version of the interview with Giemulla. The 20 minutes long talk has some statements by the German lawyer which are misleading or incorrect.
Giemulla says a lot of nonsense both in the 28 minutes documentary as well as in the 20 minutes interview. The interview was recorded in Berlin in summer 2019.
In the documentary he says at around 07:36:
Giemulla: Excluding one of the main aspects in this tragedy which is the operator….
Van der Werff: Malaysia.
Giemulla: Malaysia yeah, from the investigation is against the rules. They have something in mind. The result is not the result of an objective investigation. Somebody was missing.
Malaysia has not been excluded. It was part of the Dutch Safety Board technical investigation into the cause of the accident. Malaysia also is a member of JIT. The country joined at its own request 4 months later. The delay was also caused because of distrust between Malaysia and Ukraine.
Yerlashova: “I was a witness of Dutch lawyers who were involved in MH17 being silenced. We could not talk to them anymore. And the German lawyer Giemulla confirmed he had to same experiece. They would not stay in touch. It is all secretative.”
Giemulla submitted in 2014 an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and accuses the Ukraine Government of failing its legal duty to prevent civilian aircraft from flying into the airspace Ukrainian officials knew to be dangerous. In February 2016 Van der Werff published an interview with Giemulla. Giemulla stated Dutch lawyers representing next of kin responded to attempts by Giemulla to get in touch saying “we are not in a position to talk to you for the time being”.
Dutch lawyers till the end of 2016 were occupied in a legal case with Malaysia Airlines about compensation. Their strategy was once this was settled, steps against other parties would be investigated.
Early 2017 several law firms were approached and asked if they wanted to cooperate and present their strategy. Giemulla was also approached.
At September 27, 2017 the so called coreteam consisting of multiple Dutch and foreign laywers representing different law firms presented various legal possibilities to a group of around 150 next of kin. As the photo shows Elmar Giemulla (on the left) was a speaker at this presentation. Jerry Skinner, who filed a complaint against Russia at the ECtHR was also present. (second man from right).
However in the interview with Yerlashova and Van der Werff, Giemulla says and I quote:
My experience with the Netherlands over the past years in terms of this accident ofcourse was very awkward I must say.
I tried to contact the Dutch colleagues and there was no answer. Very strange. Very strange and ofcourse I reminded them after two or three months and asked please give me any answer. They did again after some months they said “well currently we are not in a position to talk you. “. So it is all speculation why.
My understanding was there was a kind of pressure from the Dutch government to the lawyers saying “stay quiet, do not make a fuss, we do it for you.”
Giemulla makes clear he believes the Dutch lawyers were forced by the Dutch government to calm down the clients
Giemulla does not make clear about what time period he is talking. It is confirmed that untill early 2017 there was no contact between the Dutch coreteam of lawyers and Giemulla.
Since 2017 Giemulla confirmed to me in e-mail Giemulla and the Dutch lawyers “have established amicable relationships“.
At the time of the interview the Dutch parliament had not yet requested the Dutch government to start an investigation into why Ukraine did not close its airspace completely for civilian flights.
I contacted two of the lawyers of the coreteam and had no problems at all talking to them. So when Yerlashova says she could not contact them it probably means the lawyers did not want to be in touch with someone spreading disinformation.
Around 10:50 Giemulla talks about Dutch families.
My impression now is that things have changed obviously that the clients the Dutch families are growingly, say disappointed, by their government. I mean nothing happened from their point of view. Maybe things happened behind the curtain we do not know. But obviously for the families nothing has changed.
I did not understand this comment. I am in regular contact with Dutch next of kin and the MH17 Disaster Foundation. They are happy about the steps taken by the Dutch goverment as it held Russia liable and supports the case at the ECtHR.
I contacted Giemulla for comment. He responded by saying that in September 2017 some of the Dutch families approached him saying they were disappointed by their government.
So just as with his statements about the Dutch lawyers Giemulla recycles some information from the past and let the viewers believe currently families are disappointed.
“Evidence must be presented”
At 16:36 Van der Werff asks a question.
He asks if the Netherlands can still be a neutral party in a court as the Netherlands government supports the next of kin in their case at the ECtHR.
Van der Werff: “How could the Netherlands still have credibility to make a court case against Russian citizens? You see any problem with this or not really?”
Giemulla: I see a real problem. This decision (to support next of kin in case against Russia) can only be explained that the government obviously is biased. I have no other explanation.
Van der Werff: The other explanation could be the Dutch have so much overwhelming against Russia
Giemulla: if it is the case that the government has overwhelming evidence why do they wait to present the evidence in law suit? If they have it, why don’t they present it to the public?
Van der Werff then explains it is a normal procedure according chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke in any courtcase to wait for the courtcase to start and then present the evidence.
Giemulla: I never heard of this normality I must say. Why withhold the evidence and then at any courthearing, as a surprise , I have something. This is strange. Definitely not normal.
What we are seeing here is two men with no clue what they are talking about! The Dutch government stated in May 2019 it will support the next of kin at the ECtHR. The Dutch government will use its right of ‘Third party intervention’. Article 36(1) of the Convention provides the right for states to intervene in cases brought by one of their nationals against another Contracting State. A country involved can let the judges know that it supports the complainants by submitting written comments and/or take part in hearings where one of its nationals is an applicant. Also Ukraine and Canada used the right to intervene.
So there is no need to present any evidence by the Dutch government to ECtHR.
The other legal case is the Dutch public prosecution service versus the four individuals (3 Russian citizens and 1 Ukraine). This has nothing to do with the Dutch government. In the Netherlands judges, public prosecutors and the government are independent. In not a single law suit evidence was presented before the start of the trial.
As Giemulla stated is was not normal the government did not present evidence, I asked Giemulla: “Can you present me similair cases where a government presented evidence before the trial had started? His response was:
The burden of proof rests with the person who alleges something. This is the Dutch Government. Why and how could I counter-proof. So they should proof that this is normal, and not me that this is not normal.
A total nonsense response!
No writing the truth in email
After publication of this article, Max van der Werff wrote an email to Elmar Giemulla. The response by Giemulla was published by Van der Werff on his Twitter account and once again shows Mr. Giemulla does not tell the truth.
Giemulla writes: “I stressed to Marcel that later on we have developped a very constructive contact. He utterly ignores that for reasons outside my comprehension”.
That is a false statement. In my article I made very clear that later the contact between Giemulla and the Dutch lawyers are ‘amicable’. I even made this more clear by marking this in bold: Since 2017 Giemulla confirmed to me in e-mail Giemulla and the Dutch lawyers “have established amicable relationships“.
In my article I already made clear Giemulla never in the interview made clear after early 2017 contacts were good.
Comment Elmar Giemulla
I contacted Elmar Giemulla several times via e-mail and asked his comments. On my question why he did not make clear in the interview that since early 2017 the contact with the Dutch lawyers is very good he responded:
“There was no cooperation between 2015 and 2017. Since the Dutch colleagues did not explain this to me (despite my reminder) I had no choice but to speculate.”
Giemulla did not respond to my remark that I included the text about better relations since 2017 and my question to him why he stated to Van der Werff I ignored that fact.
Comments Max van der Werff
Just as I did with other blogposts about Van der Werff and Yerlashova I contacted Van der Werff for comments. He did not respond to any of the many e-mails I sent him.by