MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian government is responsible for the tragic Malaysia Airlines plane crash as Kiev is under binding international legal obligations articulated in the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and ICAO regulation DOC 9554/932.
Ukraine ratified the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation in 2003, which automatically classifies Ukraine as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with all the associated legal obligations applicable upon signing.
An amendment to the Chicago Convention, the so-called Article 3bis, obliges the signatories to “refrain from resorting to the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight,” as such behavior goes out of line with the standards and norms regulating cross-country interactions. Hence, no country can use ongoing military confrontation on its territory as a right to attack a commercial plane or other types of civil aircraft
Additionally, the ICAO clearly defines in its Manual Concerning Safety Measures Relating to Military Activities Potentially Hazardous to Civil Aircraft Operations, that “the responsibility for initiating the co-ordination process rests with the States whose military forces are engaged in the conflict,” pursuant to Paragraph 10.2 of the respective international agreement. In other words, safe passage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 through Ukrainian airspace should have been coordinated well in advance, as stipulated in the manual.
Better yet, incomplete coordination or lack thereof does not relieve the state of its safety obligations, as “the responsibility for instituting special measures to ensure the safety of international civil aircraft operations remains with the states responsible for providing air traffic services in the airspace affected by the conflict, even in cases where coordination is not initiated or completed.” This excludes any loophole that might be used by Ukraine to evade being held accountable for the tragedy.
A Malaysia Airlines plane heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed July 17 near the city of Donetsk in Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. United Nations, Russia and heads of several countries stressed an importance of a transparent international investigation to determine the circumstances and causes of the accident.
Meanwhile, Kiev accused the independence supporters in the turbulent Donetsk Region of downing the passenger plane with a surface-to-air missile. The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic said local militia did not have the means to shoot down a target at flying at such a high altitude.
In a July 21 briefing, representatives of the Russian military released some of the data gathered as part of the probe into the July 17 crash, stating that Russian monitoring systems detected up to four Ukrainian Buk M1 air defense systems in the vicinity of the crash on the day of the accident. Compounded with increased activity of Ukrainian radars and a military aircraft approaching the passenger plane sometime before the disaster, it looks like Kiev has more questions to answer.
While the investigation into the crash is still underway, Kiev’s breach of international agreements provoking the tragedy can hardly be denied.