Security Council condemns downing of Malaysian airliner, calls for international probe

The UN Security Council holds a moment of silence in honour of the victims of crashed flight MH17. 18 July 2014. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

21 July 2014 – The Security Council today called for an international investigation into last week’s downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight in eastern Ukraine, and demanded that armed groups allow unfettered access to the crash site and ensure that its integrity is maintained.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body condemned “in the strongest terms” the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, which resulted in the tragic loss of 298 lives.

It supported efforts to establish “a full, thorough and independent international investigation” into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.

Council members also insisted on the “dignified, respectful and professional” treatment and recovery of the bodies of the victims.

Further, the Council demanded that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area “refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site, including by refraining from destroying, moving or disturbing wreckage, equipment, debris, personal belongings, or remains, and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the site…”

It also demanded that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation.

The Council also demanded that those responsible for this incident to be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.

Last week Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Council that while the UN had no independent verification of the circumstances regarding the crash, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was alarmed at “credible, numerous reports” suggesting that a sophisticated surface-to-air missile was used.

The apparent deliberate downing of the flight over eastern Ukraine, he added, highlighted the need for an urgent resumption of a ceasefire and a serious effort to end the ongoing crisis in that country.

“This horrifying incident serves as the starkest reminder of how dire the situation in eastern Ukraine has become – and how it affects countries and families well beyond Ukraine’s borders,” he said in a briefing to the Council.


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