Malaysia Airlines flight 17

Law firm names Russia and Putin in MH17 compensation claim, demands US$10 million for each passenger

Kremlin says it is not aware of the claim about the downed Malaysian Airlines jet

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 May, 2016, 3:26pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 May, 2016, 4:01pm

An Australian law firm has filed a compensation claim against Russia and President Vladimir Putin in the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of families of victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, shot down in 2014, media reported.

The jetliner crashed in Ukraine in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board, including 28 Australians.

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The aircraft, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in its final report late last year.

Fighting was raging in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces when the aircraft was downed and many Western experts and governments blamed the rebels.

Australia’s Fairfax media reported on Saturday that 33 next of kin were of victims named in an application by Sydney law firm LHD Lawyers, representing people from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

The application was filed on May 9 and names the Russian Federation and Putin as respondents and seeks A$10 million (US$7.2 million) in compensation per passenger, the report said.

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The Dutch Safety Board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not point the finger at any group or party for launching the missile.

“So far we don’t have (such information)” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency when asked to comment on reports of the compensation claim.

Malaysia, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine have been exploring alternative options, including trials in international and national courts, after Russia vetoed a United Nations bid in July 2015 to form a tribunal.