Wisma Putra looking at other options after Russian veto on MH17

Wisma Putra looking at other options after Russian veto on MH17
Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that sought to set up a special tribunal to try those responsible for shooting down flight MH17 over Ukraine.
PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA - Even as Malaysia was abuzz over the find of a probable piece of the MH370 wreckage, another airline tragedy made global headlines as Russia vetoed a United Nations resolution for an international criminal tribunal for MH17.

Malaysia remains undeterred despite the failure to adopt the resolution.

Wisma Putra said Malaysia would look at other options and prosecuting mechanisms to ensure justice for the families of the 298 people onboard who perished when the MAS plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 last year.

The draft resolution, introduced by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai at the United Nations Security Council early yesterday, failed to be adopted.

This was despite obtaining 11 votes of support from, besides Malaysia, the United States, Britain, France, Spain, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, New Zealand and Nigeria.

Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, used its veto power to block the resolution while China, Venezuela and Angola abstained.

Liow was disappointed with the outcome.

"It is a great let down that the resolution to establish an international criminal tribunal for MH17 was not adopted. This is a major stumbling block in our quest for justice.

"Unfortunately, a dangerous precedent has been set with this failure. Malaysia will not be deterred by this setback," he said. "We will consider exploring other viable options."

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said pushing for the vote forcefully while certain members were still having "major concerns" on the resolution would only lead to disunity in the council.

"This will not help to soothe the grief of the relatives of MH17 victims, nor contribute to the investigation and prosecution of those responsible," it said in a statement.

The ministry said China hoped all parties in the Security Council would look ahead and continue to fulfil the resolution to push for the investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Liow, in his address before the vote was taken, said it was important that the Security Council take clear and decisive action.

He said an international tribunal would send a clear message that the international community was committed to acting against those who threatened international peace and security by endangering civil aviation.

"All those who travel by air will be more at risk if perpetrators are not held to account," he said.

Liow said an international tribunal would also be the best place to deliver justice for the families of all victims.

"Regardless of who the perpetrators were, we want to ensure that the arm of justice will reach them and that there will not be impunity," he said.

"The families and loved ones of the victims of MH17 would expect no less from us."

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