Australia vows to pursue justice for MH17 victims
Melbourne, Oct 14: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday said his government will "do whatever it can to bring those responsible for MH17 jet disaster to justice", a day after a probe concluded that the plane was shot down by a missile fired from Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Among the passengers and crew on board the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 who died during a routine flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur on July 17 last year, 38 were from Australia.
Turnbull's statement comes a day after the Dutch authorities released their final report into the tragedy, which stated that the flight crashed as a result of the detonation of a BUK missile fired from eastern Ukraine.
He said that the "murder" of the 298 people on board was a cowardly crime. "Those who committed this crime must answer for it. We deplore the conduct of Russia using its Security Council veto in July to block the establishment of a special international criminal tribunal," he said.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told the National Press Club more could have been done to ensure MH17 was on a safe flightpath. Joyce said Qantas had robust procedures in place to assess risks but security information needed to be accessible to all carriers.
"I think what has been very clear is that the situation that happened over the Ukraine, I think more could have been done sharing information and intelligence to ensure that the operation of aircraft was safe over that path," he said.
"But the information that we have, it is safe to do so. Australia 'will not be bullied by Russia'," Turnbull said.
Australia, led by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, would continue working with Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine to seek justice for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines tragedy.
"We will not be bullied by Russia. We, and all the nations whose citizens share our grief, are determined to do everything we can, no matter how long it takes to identify those responsible and bring them to justice," Bishop said.