Russia points to the danger of "politicization" of the tribunal
Today, the un security council voted on a draft resolution tabled by malaysia and supported by countries such as australia, the netherlands and ukraine, calling for the establishment of a un tribunal on those responsible for the downing of mh17. As was to be expected, the resolution was not adopted, russia vetoed it, as previously made clear. Yesterday morning, russian president putin made this clear in a telephone conversation with dutch prime minister rutte. China was able to keep out of it and abstained from voting, as did angola and venezuela, which thus also made their distance from the 11 supporters clear.
The malaysian minister of transport, liow tong lai, explained that he was "deeply disappointed". It was hoped that a un tribunal would speed up investigations to bring perpetrators to justice and encourage states to cooperate. It is commonly believed that russia is being encouraged to cooperate. It is possible, however, that it was the western states, above all the usa, that came under prere to provide more information. So far, the intelligence services and the military are keeping a low profile (mh17: us intelligence services should finally deliver) and no prere is being exerted on kiev, at whose request, however, 147 documents were declared secret by the joint investigation team in april, while the russian military has at least produced documents, however permissible or deniable "evidence" submitted.
Ukrainian president poroshenko said that the result of the vote speaks for itself, by which he probably means russia’s complicity. But ukraine could not be stopped, the culprits had to be punished. Earlier, he had explained that the adoption of the resolution became a "disaster" for russia, because this would mean the recognition of responsibility. The logic is hard to follow, except for the fact that both approval and disapproval are supposed to speak for russia’s complicity. Samantha power, the u.S. Envoy, threatened that "not stand in the way of a veto" was to punish the guilty. Russia is being bibbed, "the public outcry of the affected countries" disregarded the "international peace frustrated" to have.
Vitaly churkin, the russian un envoy, doubted whether a tribunal would be truly independent. They wanted a quick investigation of the culprits, but doubted whether a tribunal of the "propaganda" and, accordingly "politicized" was. Earlier, russia had said that it would not support the establishment of a tribunal before the end of the ongoing investigations, which have not yet submitted their final reports. Der spiegel believes to know that the international "joint investigative team" (jit) came to the conclusion that the mh17 was shot down by a buk-m1. This may well be the case, the main question is whether there is strong evidence that it was shot down by separatists with the support of russia, as has been claimed.
The russian side also raised legal concerns beforehand, as the draft resolution had the downing of mh17 as a "threat to international peace" been classified to be able to demand a un tribunal. Even before that, russia had pointed out that several passenger planes had already been shot down, including by ukraine and the u.S., without it being considered a threat to international peace. Churkin reiterated that no tribunal has ever been established for such an incident. The fact that now, a year after the incident, the launch has become a "threat to international peace" the fact that the tribunal is to be made a special representative speaks for the intended politicization of the tribunal.
Russia has submitted an alternative draft resolution, ostensibly to allow for an independent investigation. According to this, the un secretary general should appoint a special envoy. Russia, he said, was ready to participate in an "comprehensive, independent and objective investigation" as required by resolution 2166. The rejection of the tribunal has nothing to do with preventing the prosecution of the perpetrators.