Families of MH17 crash victims sue Putin, Russia for $10 million each

  • AFP, Sydney
  • Updated: May 21, 2016 19:51 IST
The parents of a victim from Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 react as they leave the State Coroners Court, after the New South Wales State Coroner handed down his findings from an inquest into the deaths of six residents who were aboard the plane, in Sydney, Australia. (Reuters File Photo)

Families of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, are suing President Vladimir Putin and Russia for Aus $10 million each in the European Court of Human Rights, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Saturday.

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 Herald said.

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 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, told the Herald that his clients wanted accountability.

“They want enough money to reflect that the Russians take this seriously,” the paper quoted Skinner as saying.

Officials with the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) concluded last year as part of an international investigation that the Boeing 777 was hit by a BUK missile.

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.

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