Prosecutors to release first results of MH17 investigation later this year

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The international team of prosecutors which is investigating the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plans to release the first results of its investigation after the summer, officials say, pushing back a previous timeline due to delays.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), in a statement released by the Dutch prosecutor’s office, said it would present results concerning the type of weapon used to shoot down the plane and the exact launch site of the weapon during a presentation after the summer. No specific date was announced.

The team had initially stated that it expected to conclude the investigation into the weapon used by the second half of this year, but Friday’s statement said that although the investigation is “at a very advanced stage,” several issues are taking more time than expected.

Those issues concern parts of an analysis for which information has been requested from Russian authorities, and an answer is expected within the next two months, after which that information will be included in the forensic investigation.

It was not immediately clear how much information the team plans to present later this year, but detailed findings are not expected to be made public. “As explained previously in a meeting with the relatives, the JIT will eventually include the investigation results in a criminal file, which is intended for the hearing of the case in a court or a tribunal,” prosecutors said in the statement.

The Joint Investigation Team consists of prosecutors and police from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium and Ukraine. The investigation, which is separate from the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation, seeks to track down the persons responsible for the crash and bring them to justice.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed near the city of Torez in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew in the world’s deadliest aviation disaster since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. An investigation by the Dutch Safety Board concluded that the aircraft was shot down by a Buk missile fired from eastern Ukraine.

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