Families of three victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash are planning to sue Ukraine over its alleged negligence. The MH17 disaster lawsuit will be filed by Elmar M. Giemulla, an aviation-law expert, the Associated Press reported.
Giemulla said Ukraine should have closed the airspace over the eastern portion of the country, the site of the current conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists. “Since that didn’t happen, Ukraine is liable for damages,” Giemulla told AP via email. The MH17 lawsuit was first reported by the German-language Bild. Because Ukraine failed to close its airspace, even though it could not ensure the safety of air traffic, its government committed a “human-rights violation,” Giemulla argued.
The lawsuit will seek compensation of €1 million ($1.29 million) for each victim, AP said. MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew members aboard the plane. U.S. intelligence said pro-Russian separatists mistakenly shot down MH17, according to the Guardian. Meanwhile, the Dutch safety board’s preliminary report said MH17 was downed by “a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside,” but did not indicate what the projectiles were or who might have been responsible for the crash.
More victims' families could join the lawsuit, which will be filed at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, AP reported. Depending on new conclusions and evidence produced by ongoing MH17 investigations, Giemulla could file suit against Russia should it be revealed Moscow was involved in the incident, such as by supplying the separatists with the missile system that shot down MH17.