INSIGHT: The quest for justice for those on board MH17

INSIGHT: The quest for justice for those on board MH17

One year after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, families of 298 people who died in the tragedy are still demanding answers. Channel NewsAsia’s INSIGHT spoke to some of them and asked experts if the downing of the plane is a war crime.

MH17_Memorial Service

SINGAPORE: The upcoming festival to mark the end of Ramadan, Aidilfitri, is supposed to be a time for joyful family reunions for Muslims after a month of fasting for their faith. But for families of MH17 crash victims, the occasion is a reminder of the tragic loss they suffered one year ago.

On July 17, 2014, some of their loved ones were on board the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. They perished after the plane got shot down over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

One year on, some of the biggest questions surrounding the crash remain unanswered: Who blew up the plane? And will the perpetrators be brought to justice?

Channel NewsAsia’s INSIGHT visited family members who are still demanding answers.


65-year-old Fatimah Ibrahim lost her youngest son, 27-year-old MH17 co-pilot Muhammad Firdaus Abdul Rahim a year ago.

Fatimah Ibrahim: I can’t celebrate this year’s Aidilfitri festival although my children have bought festive cookies because Raya Aidilfitri falls on the 17th, the day the plane crashed. It makes me even sadder because I still remember him. I won’t cook or do anything. I don’t know when this will last till. I don’t know when I will stop thinking about him. I don’t know what to say. My heart is sad.

MH17_Ng Parents

66-year-old Ng Kok Eng and 62-year-old Daisy Liew are still clinging on to memories of their only son, Ng Qing Zheng, a chemical engineer who was onboard MH17 before it was shot down in Ukraine.

Daisy Liew: What I miss most is what he used to do for the family, the respect he displayed for his parents and his loving nature. The more I think about them, the more I find it hard to accept the news of his death. His love towards the family, his sisters, he loved them. I am sad that my grandchild won’t be able to grow up with a father, a very good father.

INSIGHT: #MH17 – THE QUEST FOR JUSTICEOne year after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, families of the 298 people who died in the tragedy still demand answers. Who blew up the plane? And will the perpetrators be brought to justice?Full story on INSIGHT: Thursday, 8pm, on Channel NewsAsia.

Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Mr Bunn Nagara, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies and Professor Joergen Oerstroem Moeller from Singapore Management University, also weigh in on the ongoing investigation.

INSIGHT: Have we had any conclusive evidence yet on who shot down the plane?

Mr Bunn Nagara: The technical investigative report which will be out early October will give a much better picture as to how things have happened, but it will still not pinpoint or point the finger at anyone. That will be the work of the criminal investigation and that report will be take several months more. Even then, I’m not very sure whether there will be evidence pointing at anyone. Because there will be denials. Whoever is accused will want to deny that and the argument may go on and unfortunately it’s not that easy to arrive at closure for the families of victims.

MH17_Bunn Nagara

Mr Bunn Nagara, Senior Fellow, Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

INSIGHT: Does the downing of MH17 constitute a war crime?

Professor Joergen Oerstroem Moeller: I think you could say so, because the people who did so should have been aware and probably were aware that it was a civilian plane, so they killed a lot of innocent people and that can be, in my mind, classified as a war crime. I am not a lawyer, so I am not sure whether in legal terms it can be classified as a war crime. But from a moral point of view it is definitely a war crime.

MH17_Professor Joergen

Professor Joergen Oerstroem Moeller, Singapore Management University.

Watch the full episode of INSIGHT on Thursday, 16 July, 8pm (SG/HK) on Channel NewsAsia. Catch up with other INSIGHT episodes here.

Source: CNA/kf