[What follows is an excerpt from a news agency report headed Where are the bodies, MH17 families ask published yesterday evening by Reuters:]
[O]n July 17 … the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot out of the sky.
All 298 passengers and crew - two-thirds of them Dutch – were killed. (...)
The Dutch are conducting two parallel investigations: one into the cause of the crash, and a criminal inquiry - the single largest in Dutch history. There are now 100 Dutch law enforcement officials involved in that case, including 10 prosecutors, said spokesman Wim de Bruin.
But no forensic investigators have made it to the crash site. That makes the recovery of evidence nearly impossible. (...)
The challenges facing the Dutch investigators are extreme.
The closest comparison is the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, which killed 254 people. [RB: actually 270] The investigation, conducted in peacetime Scotland, took three years, during which 4 million pieces of evidence were recovered from a crash site spanning 2,000 sq km (770 sq miles). It took a decade to go to trial.
"We searched rivers, lochs and reservoirs and recovered many personal effects, pieces of aircraft and debris, as well as other much more difficult 'recoveries' I'd rather not go into here," said one police diver involved in the search.
Even then, the trial of two Libyan intelligence agents, at a specially constituted Scottish court in a disused Dutch military base, secured only one conviction. To this day, many relatives are convinced that the man eventually convicted was innocent.