Russia has vetoed a UN tribunal for Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

Russia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution, proposed by Malaysia and backed by Australia, which would have worked to prosecute those responsible for the downing the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Despite gaining 11 “yes” votes from the 15-member council, three countries abstained: China, Angola and Venezuela, and Russia vetoed the motion.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, said Russia’s use of the veto “compounds the atrocity” of the situation.

“In a world with an increasing number of violent terrorist groups and other non-state actors, many with sophisticated military capabilities, it is inconceivable that the Security Council would now walk away from holding to account those who brought down a commercial aeroplane,” she said.

“Only one hand was raised in opposition, but a veto should never be allowed to deny justice… the anticipated excuses and obfuscation by the Russian Federation should be treated with the utmost disdain”.

“The exercise of the veto today is an affront to the memory of the 298 victims of MH17 and their families and friends.”

38 Australians were killed on the flight, which went down on July 17 last year.

The Dutch Safety Board is expected to release a final report into the cause of the crash in October, but has stressed it will only address the cause, not those responsible.

The report was a contributing factor in Russia’s decision to veto the tribunal, with Russia’s UN representative Vitaly Churkin saying it would be “premature” and “counter-productive”.

Yesterday, prior to the decision, Bishop said that if Russia did go ahead with the veto it would be a “set-back but there would be other ways to set up a tribunal.”

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