MH17: Families Of Doomed Passengers Can Claim Compensation From Perpetrator

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 – The families of the doomed Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 passengers can claim for compensation against whichever state that is found responsible for shooting down the aircraft. International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Department of Civil Law lecturer Prof Dr Mohammed Naqib Ishan Jan said that previously, a similar case was recorded, involving the Iranian Air Flight 655 incident.

“When the United States Navy (allegedly) shot down the Iranian plane in July 1988, Iran filed a suit against the United States in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). “Although the United States failed to admit responsibility and liability for the downing of the plane, they (nevertheless) paid the compensation. “The case was settled out of court through non-legal process. The United States agreed to pay compensation of US$61.8 million (RM207 million) to the 243 Iranian passengers on board for Iran to discontinue the case,” he said.

Mohammed Naqib said this when presenting his paper entitled, ‘War Crimes of Targeting Civilians: Examining the Downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17’ at the International Conference On Law, Order and Criminal Justice 2014 held in the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC) in Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday.

He said since the crime alleged to have been committed was a war crime, it (war crime) was subject to universal jurisdiction. “Universal jurisdiction is criminal jurisdiction based solely, on the nature of the crime, without regard to where the crime was committed, the nationality of the alleged or convicted perpetrator, the nationality of the victim, or any other connection to the state exercising such jurisdiction,” he said.

Thus, he suggested an international criminal investigation to be launched on the MH17 tragedy to determine the party responsible for the crime to face criminal prosecution. On July 17, MAS Flight MH17 was enroute to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when the aircraft which was carrying 298 passengers and crew was shot down over eastern Ukraine.  A total of 43 Malaysians were on board the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.

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