Australia Urges Russia To Cooperate With Initiatives To Prosecute MH17 Suspects

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

Victims came from 17 countries, with 196 of them Dutch.

Three years on from the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine, the Australian government is staunchly committed to bringing those responsible to justice.

"We will work as hard as we can to ensure that the families of those who were killed do receive justice and can have some closure after this atrocity that occurred three years ago", Ms Bishop told the ABC.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will join government and worldwide officials at a solemn ceremony to dedicate the memorial in the park of Vijfhuizen, close to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport where the flight took off from on July 17, 2014. Dutch-led investigations found that the plane had been downed by Russian-manufactured BUK missiles brought into the war-torn region from Russia by the rebels.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko used Facebook to demand the Russian government be held accountable for the tragedy. Investigators believe Russian-backed militia fired the missile from Russia-controlled territory. Russian Federation has denied any involvement, and denounced the conclusions as politically biased.

In addition to renewed calls for accountability, leaders also expressed their ongoing condolences.

"A tree symbolizes "hope" and "future" in many cultures", the association for the victim's families said in a statement.

The commemoration ceremony included the unveiling of a "living memorial" designed by artist Ronald A. Westerhuis and landscape architect Robbert de Koning.

"Today, lighting the candles in memory, we bow our heads before 298 innocent victims of MH17 flight crash". The memorial's design includes 298 newly planted trees - each one bearing the name of a victim - that form the shape of a green ribbon. And at the heart of the forest of 11 different tree varieties is a steel memorial shaped like an eye, turned upwards looking at the skies. It is created to rust over time to symbolize the creeping passage of pain.

It is surrounded by a ring of sunflowers which will blossom during the month of July and are also found in the eastern Ukranian fields where some parts of the plane wreckage were found. Though more than 100 people are wanted in connection with the tragedy, no one has been arrested to date.

Julie Bishop, the Australian foreign affairs minister, said: "We'll do all we can".

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