If only victims knew of the never-ending Great Game
Originally appeared at ABC News
Families of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, are suing President Vladimir Putin and Russia for $10 million each in the European Court of Human Rights.
All 298 passengers and crew — the majority of them Dutch — died when the Boeing 777 was hit by a Russian-made BUK anti-aircraft missile over war-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.The compensation claim was filed with the Strasbourg-based court by Sydney legal firm LHD Lawyers on May 9 on behalf of 33 next-of-kin from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.
The documents filed by LHD Lawyers allege that the Russian Federation has worked to keep its involvement in the plane disaster hidden
Jerry Skinner, a co-associate of LHD whose signature is on the claim, said his clients wanted accountability and $10 million in compensation per passenger was being sought.
"Our clients want them to accept responsibility and be accountable in some measure that will be satisfying to the individuals," he said.
"What it takes for an individual to be satisfied after the loss of a loved one and a big political essentially act of war, is something that can only be determined later as time passes and as people's feelings change, people's feelings solidify.
"It's a great mystery to me how they arrive at it but it does happen."
Mr Skinner said he hoped Russia would respect the claim.
"We hope that [Mr Putin] will extend the courtesy of acknowledging accountability and dealing with these people seriously and on serious terms," he said.
Officials with the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) concluded last year as part of an international investigation that the Boeing 777 was hit by a Russian-made BUK missile fired from eastern Ukraine.
In February, a separate criminal investigation team said they hoped within months to pinpoint the exact spot from which the missile was fired.
Some families are also considering suing Malaysia Airlines for damages over loss of earnings as well as compensation for the "psychological" trauma of losing loved ones.
Russia has denied any involvement in the incident.
Last week there was an outpouring of grief in the Glebe Coroner's Court as the families of NSW residents killed spoke about the impact of losing their loved ones.
The parents of 25-year-old Jack O'Brien, who was coming home from a seven-week holiday, addressed the court, with a photograph of their son.
"Jack's body was broken and burnt and lay on the ground in a war zone," Jack's mother, Meryn O'Brien said.
"Violence has shattered our family."
Pausing frequently, Jack's father Jon O'Brien spoke of his heartbreak.
"His life has been snuffed out by a launch of a missile 10 kilometres away," Mr O'Brien said.
"Sometimes only one person is missing and the whole world is empty."
Vera Oreshkin addressed the inquest with her husband Serge by her side and a photograph of their son Victor, who was killed at the age of 29.
"Words cannot do justice to Victor, he deserves justice, so do the the other passengers," Mrs Oreshkin said.
Coroner Michael Barnes said the deaths of 298 people on board flight MH17 amounted to "mass murder".
"Coroners do not make findings of criminal guilt, but it would be pointless sophistry not to acknowledge that these deaths were part of a gross mass murder," he said.
"The fatal injuries were inflicted as a result of a person or persons, who has or have not been identified, deliberately firing a missile, equipped with an exploding warhead, at the jetliner in which the deceased persons were passengers, causing it to disintegrate at high altitude."
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