Ga naar content

MH17 Witness Appeal November 2019

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) releases a new witness appeal in the criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The JIT is looking for information on the individuals within the military and administrative hierarchy who enabled the shooting down of MH17 in Eastern Ukraine using a BUK TELAR. The JIT wants to get in touch with further witnesses who are able to testify about these command lines and the role that Russian government officials might have had. Today, the JIT releases further recorded conversations. Below we summarise these conversations and ask you specific questions.

Inhoudsopgave

Hier is een YouTube-video ingesloten. Deze kan niet getoond worden omdat u geen cookies accepteert. U kunt de video ook bekijken op http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xo_RN1prjA

Нажмите здесь, чтобы открыть страницу на русском языке

Contact the JIT

On 19 June 2019, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) announced that four defendants are to be prosecuted for their involvement in the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The JIT further announced that the investigation continues and focuses on the crew of the BUK TELAR, and on individuals who were an important link in the decision-making process in the Russian Federation regarding the deployment of this BUK TELAR.

The JIT released intercepted phone calls. These showed that leaders of the armed group ‘Donetsk People's Republic’ (DPR) maintained contact with Russian government officials about Russian military support. These leaders included Alexander Borodai, self-proclaimed ‘prime minister’, and defendant Igor Girkin, self-proclaimed ‘defence minister’. They communicated with Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed leader in Crimea and Vladislav Surkov, a high ranking official of the Russian government.

Recent analysis of witness statements and other information revealed that Russian influence on the DPR went beyond military support and that the ties between Russian officials and DPR-leaders appear closer. The intensity of Russian influence is relevant to investigating further individuals involved in the downing of MH17. That is why today the JIT releases this new appeal for witnesses.

The JIT wants to know more about who gave orders to Borodai, defendant Girkin, other members of the DPR and the crew of the BUK TELAR in the summer of 2014. The JIT wants to get in touch with further witnesses who are able to testify about these command lines and the role that Russian government officials might have had. Today, the JIT releases further recorded conversations. Below we summarise these conversations and ask you specific questions.

Russian influence on the ‘Donetsk People's Republic’

In public interviews, DPR leaders stated that they were volunteers who were not directed by anyone. Defendant Igor Girkin said in an interview in 2017:

‘No one has appointed or sent me.’

At a press conference on 10 July 2014, Borodai said:

‘I would like to tell you that both Igor and I have been volunteers for a very long time. The volunteer movement is well developed in Russia.’

The JIT, however, has indications that they were in fact directed from within the Russian Federation. The JIT spoke with several witnesses who belonged to the DPR in the summer of 2014. These witnesses stated that the key figures of the armed group were directed from within the Russian Federation.

Their testimony is corroborated by telephone conversations, that were recorded at the time. For example by Borodai, one of those key figures. In his call with person (B) on 3 July 2014 at 17:30:15 hours, Borodai (A) seems to acknowledge  that he was following Russian instructions: 

A: Well, your plans are far-reaching. Mine are not. I’m carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That’s the bottom line.

Listen to complete audiofile

In another call, at the beginning of July 2014, a DPR-member tells a local commander that ‘men are coming with a mandate from Shoygu’. Sergey Shoygu is the Russian defence minister. According to the DPR-member, these men ‘will kick the local warlords out of the units’, and ‘people from Moscow’ will take over the command.

On 1 July 2014 at 22:08:05 hours a fighter with call sign Mongol (A) 380951267673 is called by an unknown person (B) 380509133442

B:As the Commandant of Makeyevka, I’d very much like to know that. I want to know what we’re moving towards.
A: We’re moving towards unity of command. What happens next is a bunch of men with a mandate from Shoygu will arrive and kick the local warlords the fuck out of the units -
B: Uh-huh.
A: …and then people from Moscow will take charge.(…)
B: (…) I need to know one thing: who shall I fucking report to when it happens?
A: You will report to the Minister of Defense. (…) Minister of Defense of the DPR.
(…) our Minister of Defense is Strelkov, and our Commander-in-Chief – like any other President or Prime Minister – is Borodai

Listen to complete audiofile

Several former fighters have told the JIT that the Russian security service FSB and the military intelligence service GRU were involved in the daily management of the DPR. One of the witnesses stated that DPR leaders regularly went to Moscow to consult with their contacts at the FSB and GRU.

Intercepted phone calls also seem to show the involvement of Russian security services, working side by side in directing the DPR. For example, on 18 July 2014, two DPR-members are discussing that they are both receiving their orders from Moscow; one from the FSB and the other from the GRU.

On 18 July 2014 at 18:52:57 hours, a fighter with call sign Mongol (A) 380951267673 is called by another fighter with call sign Sherif (B) 380958851694.

(…)
B: It’s a week we’ve directly…. [inaudible] to Moscow and we get the orders. (…)
A: We get the orders from Moscow as well. It’s the same with us.
B: But it’s FSB in your case? Right?
A: Yes.
B: And it’s GRU in our case. That’s the only difference.
A: I know about it perfectly well

Listen to complete audiofile

In August 2014, not long after MH17 was shot down, defendant Girkin announced his departure and told Borodai he ‘was returning to the Staff’. Apparently, he returned to an organisation he had worked for before.

On 13 August 2014 at 00:28:31 hours, defendant Girkin (C) 380637087501 is called by Borodai (B) 79265318514.

(…)
B: Hello?! Where are you?
C: Well, I'm returning to the Staff.
B: Are you returning to the Staff?
C: Yes, I am. The whole concept is changing there. I mean, we are not rich cattle industry owners anymore, but poor street ... what's it ... beggars.
B: (…) So, what are we doing? Are we going to the Staff?
C: Yes-yes-yes! Go back to the Staff. (…) Bye!
B: Ok then! That's it! Ok! We are going to the Staff! Uh-huh ...
C: Uh-huh ... Yes.
B: [Speaking to the
side] As usual we are going ...

Listen to complete audiofile

In August 2014, defendant Girkin and Borodai both left Eastern Ukraine for Moscow. In an interview in 2017, Girkin explained:

“I was ordered to transfer command to Zakharchenko. […Q: And why do you think that he was chosen?] Well, I don’t know, he and Borodai went to meet with Surkov. And apparently he was chosen, that is for the formal head of command. And why and how this happened… Surkov’s choices are always shit.”

Show interview

Apparently, Girkin was ordered to transfer command to Zakharchenko on Surkov’s direction.

Further sources, including interviews and press conferences, show that Zakharchenko did in fact take over command of the DPR.

QUESTIONS

The JIT wants to know:

  • Who gave orders to Girkin and Borodai in the summer of 2014? What was the role of members of the ‘Staff’ in this?
  • Who gave Girkin the order to transfer his command to Zakharchenko?

Means of communication

In addition to regular telephones, DPR-members used secure means of communication. A number of these seem to be provided by the Russian Federation and, moreover, used by Russian top officials in their contact with the fighters.

The JIT has found indications that the security service FSB provided telephones that cannot be wiretapped. In a conversation of 3 July 2014, defendant Dubinskiy mentions which fighters have special phones and where they got those from:

On 3 July 2014 at 20:01:11 hours Dubinskiy (A) 380631213401 calls Semenov 380639602502.

A: (…) how are you about those special communication telephones, you know, that we have? Those that go through the Internet, do you know? Secure. (…)Those are special phones, you cannot buy them. They are gotten through Moscow. Through FSB. (…) Look here, I'm reading the list of our men who ... look, .. who have ... Strelkov, Boroday, Gubarev, Agap, Chapay ... well, Kramatorsk commandant's office, Konstantynivka ... er ... my telephone, lzvarine, Mozgovoy ... well, then Snizhne, Zakhar, .. whatsit ... Oplot, you see, yeah? (…) Then ... whatsit ... Kalmius, Gubarev, Gubarev's in Rostov, yeah? .. Druzhkivka commandant's office, Aksyonov, Purgin, er ... Botsman, Bes, Kalmius. Those are the ones who … now… who have those direct phones. So, you dial 3 figures…

Listen to complete audiofile

The individuals who, according to Dubinskiy, had such a secure device all held important positions in the DPR. Among them are defendant Girkin, who is referred to by his call sign Strelkov, DPR-leader Borodai. Aksyonov, the Crimea leader appointed by Russia, is also included in the group of individuals mentioned by Dubinskiy.

In addition, key figures in the DPR regularly called with a ‘batch’ of telephone numbers in which the first set of nine digits is the same and only the last two digits differ. For further security, they seemed to be using a scrambler.

Alexander Borodai, the 'prime minister' of the DPR, had a telephone number from that batch (79265318514) and in the period from June 2014 to mid-August 2014 called almost daily with three other numbers from the same batch: 79265318528, 79265318520 and 79265318563. Topics of those calls will be discussed below.

QUESTION

The JIT wants to know:

  • Who were the users of the telephone numbers of the batch starting with 792653185?

Areas of influence - Administration

In our witness appeal of 19 June 2019, a conversation of 11 July 2014 was published between Borodai and the user of the first number from this batch, Vladislav Surkov, a high ranking government official of the Russian Federation. In the conversation, Borodai says that he urgently needs military support from Moscow. Other conversations indicate that Surkov's involvement did not end there.

On 3 July 2014 Surkov (B) and Borodai (A) had the following conversation. Surkov says that there will be reinforcements from Russia:

(…)
B: Some certain Antyufeyev will be setting off for your place. I told you about him.(…) In fact he was planning to depart over there on Saturday... or even on Sunday.(…) On Saturday they are already departing for the South to be combat-ready. Well, Sasha, there is one thing there- I'll tell you about it right away - as they are claiming for the GB. But I said that Khodakovsky headed the GB.
A: No objections. I think that Khodakovsky, by the way, will vacate his office happily. (…)
B: No. Look, Sash! Make decisions ... make decisions yourself. If he vacates[...], then let him vacate[...]. If he doesn't want to vacate[...]for some reasons, let them found one more special service.
It will not result in anything bad.

Listen to complete audiofile

Surkov encourages Borodai to arrange for Vladimir Antyufeyev to get a high administrative post in the DPR. A week later, on 10 July 2014, Antyufeyev gives a press conference, together with Borodai and defendant Girkin. Antyufeyev tells the press that he arrived from Russia that same day and that the sectors State Security, Home Affairs and Justice of the DPR will come under his responsibility.

Another telephone conversation from Borodai also points to Russian influence on appointments in the DPR. These correspond to the content of an e-mail with an attachment addressed to Surkov, which was found in open sources. In that e-mail a list of candidates for the DPR government is attached.

Not all candidates on that list were appointed, as the following telephone conversation demonstrates. An assistant of Borodai (B) calls Pushilin (A), who will join the ‘government’. This apparently requires the approval of Moscow. On 15 May 2014 at 13:25:25 hours, Pushilin (A) 380507117096 is called by (B) 380639835490:

B: (…) Much to our regret we can't include Purgin in the Security Council. We will apologize to him.
A: Uh-huh.
B: Moscow approved the closed list. Purgin is not included in it. (…)You ... you are included in it. It depends on a position, you know. The Vice-Premier is simply not included in the Security Council. Sorry, guys. (…) When does the session start?
A: In half an hour.
B: (…) Don't start without us. Alright? Don't start without us. We will come to you soon. (…) Unfortunately, we don't take Purgin. (…)
A: Well, I got that. I will... I will explain that to him. And after that you will add ...because he will kinda get offended.
B: Of course, of
course. It's just that Moscow didn't approve him.

Listen to complete audiofile

Intercepted phone calls further show Surkov acting as a trouble-shooter for the DPR leaders. For instance in this conversation of defendant Leonid Kharchenko of 14 March 2015. Kharchenko speaks of an impending arrest of fellow defendant Sergey ("Nikolayevich") Dubinskiy. Dubinskiy is in trouble because he is thought to have entered the country illegally.

On 14 March 2015 at 10:45:44 hours Kharchenko (A) 380660827518 calls a certain Andrey (B) 79154650595

A: (…) Listen, Andrey, can you get the information regarding the situation with Nikolayevich.
B: (…) Well, they said through Strelkov, right? ... he dealt with the issue ... at least tried to ...(…) Yesterday I talked to the Administration ...
A: Uh-huh.
B: of the President ... Said that [ ... ] was dealt with through Surkov. Surkov gave a command to Smirnov ... and Smirnov ... well, not a command ... Surkov asked Smirnov and he gave ... err ... the approval. (…) As far as I know it's all good.
A: (…)... here we are actually having the game now that he came in illegally and they want to arrest him. We
need to get the information regarding this urgently.

Listen to complete audiofile

According to this Andrey, Surkov corrected the misunderstanding about Dubinskiy. The man who arranged it for him, was Smirnov, the deputy chief of the FSB.

QUESTIONS

The JIT wants to know:

  • Was the appointment of DPR leadership controlled by Russian officials? Who exercised this control?
  • Did Surkov have any involvement in the appointments or running of the DPR ‘administration’?
  • Who decided on the appointment of Antyufeyev?

Areas of influence - Finances

Various sources, including witness statements, indicate that the self-proclaimed DPR government was financed by Russian beneficiaries. According to a high ranking DPR-member, nearly the entire DPR budget was paid by Russian funds.

This is also demonstrated by the following recorded telephone conversation. On 12 July 2014, Borodai (A) discusses his money problems with the user of one of the three mentioned numbers from the batch: *8520 (B). Borodai says that his money is running out. A person named ‘Kolya’ had promised ‘180,000’. That money is waiting in Moscow, but they still need confirmation for payment.

A: (…) So… yeah, the biggest problem I have now is…err…I am running out of money. I mean, that, so to speak, one hundred and fifty, that I took with me, it is practically over.. Because fifty – to Zakhar, one million grivnyas – to Igor, plus all the other expenses, okay? (…)
B: Well, for that the economic doctrine has been introduced…so that it would be possible to […] locally.
A: Yes. Local money will be actually got in about two weeks. You see?
B: (…) you need to somehow get the money transferred.
A: Yeah, I need to somehow […] that money. There is Kolya, who promised one hundred and eighty thousand…err…I asked him to arrange that one hundred and eighty thousand through Lenya, but he said that he needed a confirmation, the money had to be in Moscow…in general, he is a [inaudible] fastidious person, is obscuring the situation.
B: Well, you summon him yourself, remind him about what he told you in my presence..(…) and say:” Dear friend, (…) you give us one hundred and eighty there, and you yourself know who…will give it back to you in Moscow”. (…) So …in addition, his …err…so to speak, former employer confirmed that to me…that is why I simply will not call him again for that one hundred and eighty thousand. I will simply come and give that money to him. Will say: “Here you are. It is for that.” (…) You know, that we agreed on one hundred and eighty. Take it. You need to try to arrange the rest. If there is still no flow, then we will arrange more through the same channel. And tell Nikolay: “ (…) Now I need one hundred and eighty, and later I will need this and that sum.” (…)
A: Agree the sum that you need with me and I will give it…so to speak, (…) Okay. Agreed.

Listen to complete audiofile

QUESTIONS

The JIT would like to know:

  • Who is the person (‘Kolya’) who had promised Borodai financial support?
  • Who had to confirm this payment?
  • Which further individuals in the Russian Federation were involved in providing financial support to the DPR?

Areas of influence - Military operations

Several former DPR-members have testified to the JIT about the military influence from the Russian Federation. For example, a senior member said that local commanders discussed military matters with representatives of the Russian intelligence services in Moscow. Another witness has told about a DPR fighters' assembly camp in Rostov, Russia, Levoberezhnaya Street number 1.

In the first half of July 2014, the DPR was engaged in heavy fighting with the Ukrainian armed forces. There are numerous phone calls with the Russian Federation about military operations. In a conversation with the user of the third number of the batch (*8563) Borodai talks about military support. Borodai addresses him as ‘Vladimir Ivanovich’ and asks if it is possible for ‘our’ helicopters to carry out an attack near Maryinka.

On 16 July 2014 at 08:59:04 hours Borodai (A) 79265318514 calls the user of the telephone number 79265318563 (B).

(…)      
A: Vladimir Ivanovich. Well.
B: Speaking.
A: Tell me, is it possible that our helicopters are carrying out raids? Good morning. I beg your pardon.
B: Good morning
A: So, is it possible that our helicopters are carrying out raids near Maryinka? Ours? [off to the side] Turn on the key. (…)

Listen to complete audiofile

Vladimir Ivanovich's answer cannot be heard because the scrambler is switched on at that moment. You can also listen to audiofiles of two more conversations via another telephone line (79381340450) with Vladimir Ivanovich. The investigation team suspects that this is the same person. In another conversation, Vladimir Ivanovich is referred to as a ‘higher ranking boss’, ‘who flew over from Moscow’.

On 17 July 2014 at 8:56:50 hours a certain Sergey (A) 380997759037 calls Vladimir Ivanovich (B) 79381340450. Sergey calls from Crimea and tells Vladimir Ivanovich that the next day he will be flying to Rostov near the Ukrainian-Russian border with a team of seven men. From there, they will travel on. On Saturday they already must be at their destination, probably Eastern Ukraine. They need things for their mission.

A: (…) Vladimir Ivanovich, right?
B: Yes, this is him speaking. This is Vladimir Ivanovich.
A: Err ... Aksyonov gave me your phone number. He said, it was agreed with Bortnikov.
B: OK. How can I help you?
A: (…) How can I hand over our wish list to you? We're flying to Rostov tomorrow. My men are ... I am from Simferopol, and my men are in Moscow. There's a list of things we need and a list of things we badly need. (…) We'll be in Rostov tomorrow but the point is that on Saturday, we'll already have to be ... there. Err ... Can you please find a way to ... err ... to contact you somehow ...(…) There are seven of us. Seven men. The core team is seven men. (…)The important thing for us now is to ensure those seven get to the place with ... what is needed.
B: (…) OK ... Well, in fact, I was told what you needed …(…) I haven't got your list. OK, let me sort it out and call you back.
A: OK. Drop me a phone number with Viber please. We’ll already have received stuff and got the mission accomplished by the time they unscramble that.
B: OK. OK. (...)

Listen to complete audiofile

Sergey tells Vladimir Ivanovich that he received his telephone number from Aksyonov, the leader in Crimea. He says Aksyonov had coordinated the plan with Bortnikov, the director of the FSB. But it is unclear who will deliver the required equipment to him. Other conversations around the same date indicate what Sergey needs: night vision equipment, camouflage uniforms, infrared viewers, gas masks, "iron", ammunition and armoured vehicles.

Later that day, at 13:27:50 hours, Sergey (A) (380997759037) has another conversation with Vladimir Ivanovich (B) (79381340450). Sergey calls from the office of ‘our general from Moscow’ in Crimea. He says that he spoke to his boss about his wish list for the mission. His boss told Sergey to ask Surkov himself if necessary, since he is the one who assigns the missions.

A: (.…) Listen, does Nefiodov have the secure line like Golovkin does? (…) I’ve just entered the office of our General who comes from Moscow. He’s is in Moscow. I called my supervisor and told him about the question you had asked me, and about what I was supposed to answer…
B: [off to the side]: We'll proceed in a moment, Sasha. We'll proceed in a moment! [back to the phone]: Sorry, what did you say?
A: I say, I told my supervisor, who is in Moscow at the moment, about the question you had asked me. You are an ultimate authority to help us, you see? And he told me - it can't be told over the phone, though - he said, 'If anything, let them contact Surkov personally. He is the one to assign our missions’.
B: Mmm, OK, I see. (…) That’s OK. I can't say anything in relation to your list, either. Yeah. Because I have a directive pertaining to what should be provided to you. Simple as that.
A: Excuse me, who gave you that directive?
B: My boss.

Listen to complete audiofile

Vladimir Ivanovich tells Sergey that he cannot tell him anything about the equipment Sergey requested, since he has instructions from his own boss.

Here you will find other conversations from this Sergey that give more insight into his discussions with Vladimir Ivanovich.

These talks include the role of General Serdyukov, a commander of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation, in delivering the equipment for the mission. Sergey (A) also speaks about the Russian Minister of Defence Shoygu, who supposedly had been involved in the matter in an earlier stage:

A: We have called your one three times. In short, he has already given an order to whatshisname... They agreed on providing us [...] after receiving an order from the person beginning with “Sh”. Do you know him?
B: No, I do not. Who is this?
A: Well, Shoygu. Shoygu.
B: Uh-huh. And where? Where will they give it out?
A: Where? In Rostov. Where else?

Listen to complete audiofile

On 31 July 2014 at 00:56:38 hours, defendant Girkin (C) and an unknown person (D) have a conversation about the delivery of equipment and the role of Vladimir Ivanovich in this. Girkin says that Vladimir Ivanovich gives orders to him, but that Girkin commands his own people.

D: So… Igor Ivanovich, err… From Vladimir Ivanovich… I’ve brought this convoy… I got the order to give two vehicles to Kozitsyn, and to give the rest to you.
C: So, not to give anything to anybody… to nobody… to Kozitsyn. Thank you. I’ve always been munitioned… for four months I’ve been munitioned… Kozitsyn first… and I’ve been munitioned last. I […] nothing to Vladimir Ivanovich… So, I need equipment and people, people and equipment, weapons and munitions. None of my people will fulfil orders other than mine.
D: So, do you give the order to send everything to you?
C: My order is… everything accepted for me must move to my place. Everything accepted for me… Vladimir… Kozitsyn…
D: Do you mean that despite Vladimir Ivanovich set the task… set the task for me… I will now…
C: I… I… Vladimir Ivanovich himself has to give orders to me. But not to command my people over my head. My people will fulfil my orders.
D: Well wait… The task wasn’t set to your people. The task was set to me. To the person who brought this convoy here. He set the task to me to give two vehicles… I mean to give everything to you, but for two vehicles.
C: What kind of vehicles?
D: Two vehicles with… well with the things that… with light […] …with light […]… with light hardware and its accessories. All the rest will go to your place.

Listen to complete audiofile

We also release some conversations from other fighters about Vladimir Ivanovich. Here is said, for example, that Vladimir Ivanovich is the commander of the operation:

Finally we release a conversation in which Vladimir Ivanovich himself says that he has an ‘operational communication telephone’ with number 83-81-70.

QUESTIONS

The JIT wants to know:

  • Who is the mentioned Vladimir Ivanovich? What role did he have in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine in the summer of 2014?
  • Did Surkov, Aksyonov, Shoygu and Bortnikov have a role in the planning and execution of military operations in the summer of 2014 in Eastern Ukraine?
  • Were these individuals involved in the deployment of the BUK TELAR on 17 July 2014?

Conclusion

As evidenced above, the JIT has information that indicates that the influence of the Russian Federation extended to administrative, financial and military matters in the DPR. Mutual contacts intensified in the first half of July 2014. There was almost daily telephone contact between the leadership of the DPR and their contacts in the Russian Federation. They spoke with leaders in Moscow, near the border with Ukraine and in Crimea. Communication mostly took place via secure telephones provided by the Russian security service.

The indications for close ties between leaders of the DPR and Russian government officials raise questions about their possible involvement in the deployment of the BUK TELAR, which brought down flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The BUK TELAR originating from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

The JIT is looking for witnesses who can share information about those who controlled the DPR leadership in Donetsk and commanded the deployment of the BUK TELAR.

More information
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information and evidence. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian. For more information on the witness safety and protection, please refer to Witness Safety & Protection.

Trial information

Four suspects, Igor Vsevolodovich GIRKIN, Sergey Nikolayevich DUBINSKIY, Oleg  Yuldashevich PULATOV and Leonid Volodymyrovych KHARCHENKO, will be prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the downing of flight MH17. The criminal proceedings will take place before the district court in The Hague, to be held in the Schiphol Judicial Complex (address: Duizendbladweg 100, Badhoevedorp,The Netherlands). The first court session will be held on March 9, 2020, from 10:00 AM (Central European Time). An explanation of the legal proceedings can be found here.

Contact the JIT

Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information and evidence. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian. For more information on the witness safety and protection, please refer to Witness Safety & Protection.

Witnesses and suspects can contact the JIT via:

  • E-mail address contact@jitmh17.com
  • Phone number: 0800-300014 (free from Ukraine) or 0031-886624600
    (Dutch phone number, local rate).
  •  WhatsApp: call or text 0031-683559290.
  • For uploading photographic or video material.

We prefer WhatsApp calls over phonecalls.

Witness safety and protection

The JIT pays serious attention to the security of witnesses. We strongly advise you that you should never reveal your actual (current) or intended assistance to the investigation to any person or agency outside of the JIT.

If you are concerned about your safety and/or the safety of your relatives/friends, various protective measures can be taken. Such as:

  • Discussions/interviews can take place in safe places in or outside your country. If travel is needed the JIT may provide assistance.
  • In some cases the identity of the witness can be shielded or protected.
  • In certain circumstances a witness protection program may be necessary.

​Witness protection programs:

  • Are intended to provide an environment in which the witness may give evidence without fear of retribution;
  • Can protect witness identities and may include the use of assumed identities;
  • May extend to people associated or related to the witness, such as family members;
  • And may include re-location and in some cases permanent re-settling in another country.

Inclusion in a witness protection program is not to be considered as a reward. It is governed by strict protocols and is on voluntary basis.

Every JIT nation has their own witness protection programs, many of which have cooperative arrangements with other nations. If you have information for us or if you know people who have, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.

Reduction of Sentence for Ukrainian crimes

For those under suspicion or accused of Ukrainian crimes, there are significant incentives to providing evidence in criminal matters, such as the investigation into the downing of the Boeing (MH17). This is especially applicable to pro Russian fighters interested in leaving the conflict zone, but concerned about being charged with criminal offences arising from their participation in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Since April 2017 changes to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine allow the public prosecutor, under certain conditions, to conclude a plea agreement (a deal) with a suspect or person accused of grave (terroristic) crimes. An Agreement may result in reduced or suspended punishment.Any plea agreement depends on the level of cooperation, as well as the reliability and value of information provided about other crimes or criminals. The changes to the Code allow for agreements to be made before or during trials. All agreements need to be examined and approved by the Court.

If you have information for us or if you know people who have, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information or evidence. For those concerned about safety, refer to Witness Safety & Protection and Safe communication

Safe communication

For safe communication with us through e-mail, we advise you to do the following: 
Setup a new Gmail email account. You can do this on: https://www.gmail.com. Or preferably use public/free Wi-Fi. Often you can find free Wi-Fi spots at hotels or cafes.
For safe communication with us through phone, we advise you to do the following: 
Always use a new pre-paid phone and/or SIMcard.

More information

The criminal investigation is aimed at identifying the suspects and is conducted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

About JIT
The police and judicial authorities of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine work together with the JIT, the Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Dutch National Police. The purpose of the criminal investigation is to establish the facts, identify those responsible for the crash and to collect evidence which can be used in every court, in any country.

If you have information for us or if you know people who have, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information or evidence. For those concerned about safety, refer to Witness Safety & Protection and Safe communication

Press inquiries
Journalists with police-related press inquiries about flight MH17 can contact the press office by phone: 0031 (0)6 50 088 936  or email: b.van.de.moosdijk@om.nl.