Monday, 21 July 2014

Legal responsibility for aircraft accident investigation

[I was interviewed this morning by Mark Hirst for RIA Novosti. Here is his report:]

European investigators, who unexpectedly arrived on the Malaysian aircraft crash site in eastern Ukraine, had “no legal locus” to participate in the investigation without Kiev's invite, Professor Robert Black of the University of Edinburgh, known as the “architect of the Lockerbie trial”, told RIA Novosti on Monday.

“If the nation decides that they don’t have the necessary facilities or investigative infrastructure, then they can call on another state or states to lend them the expertise,” said Black, a globally recognized legal expert, who specialized in examining the judicial issues surrounding the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

“Air investigation teams from Europe simply arrived at the scene and are now complaining that they weren’t immediately allowed free access to the site,” the lawyer said.

“It is understandable that they should be annoyed, but they have no legal locus to be there whatsoever unless and until they are invited to participate by the state which has the legal responsibility to investigate,” Black added.

“The law is that the responsibility to investigate is that of the state where the plane came down. But given the circumstances in that part of Ukraine at the moment, it is a difficult question to answer. Who is the state and who is the government of that state?” the expert said.

Black agreed it was important for the site to be secured and called for proper international investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

Malaysia Airlines' Flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, causing death of 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Ukrainian government and militia have been trading blame for the alleged downing of the plane, with independence supporters saying they lacked the technology to shoot down a target flying at altitude of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

Commenting on the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was vital to abstain from hasty conclusions on the case before the international investigation was over.

The UN Security Council late on Sunday night completed the text of its resolution regarding the Malaysia Airlines crash. Russia introduced its own draft resolution to the UN Security Council, calling for an impartial investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

1 comment:

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