UNITED NATIONS – Malaysia told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that it plans to submit a resolution soon that would establish an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last year.
Diplomats said Malaysia's U.N. Ambassador Ramlan Bin Ibrahim informed council members that the resolution is being prepared by the five countries investigating the crash and will be under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which can be enforced militarily.
New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, the current council president, told reporters after Malaysia's closed-door briefing that the five countries — Malaysia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Australia and Belgium — are seeking "criminal accountability" for the downing of the aircraft.
The flight heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed July 17, 2014 over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Controversy continues over who downed the plane.
Ukraine and the West suspect it was destroyed by a Russian surface-to-air missile fired by Russian soldiers or Russia-backed separatist rebels fighting in the area. Moscow denies that and Russian officials and state media have alleged the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian missile or a warplane.
Diplomats said Russia, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, holds the key to adoption of a resolution.
Malaysian diplomat Johan Ariff Abdul Razak said after Thursday's council discussions that "our sense was that all council members including Russia were open to further consider the matter."
According to diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the consultations were closed, ambassador Ibrahim said that in the coming days he hopes to circulate the proposed text of a resolution with the draft statute to establish the tribunal in an annex. The ambassador said he would like to see its adoption by the end of July, the diplomats said.