Thank you His Excellency Foreign Minister McCully.
2. The draft resolution before the Council today is being introduced by Malaysia, on behalf of the countries participating in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine. It is on their behalf as well as on behalf of my own delegation that I take the floor to explain our position.
3. A year ago on 17 July, the international community was shocked by the tragic downing of the civilian aircraft flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. The Council was united in its immediate reaction by adopting Resolution 2166 by consensus a few days later.
4. That resolution condemned the incident; called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines; called on all States and actors to cooperate fully in the international investigation; and demanded that those responsible be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.
5. Since then, an independent air safety investigation has been conducted in full compliance with Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines. The air safety investigation has been led by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB), following delegation of the investigation to the Netherlands by the State of Occurrence, i.e. Ukraine.
6. The investigation has been assisted by experts from various countries such as Australia, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, Italy, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
7. Alongside but separate to the air safety investigation, the law enforcement authorities of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine have been cooperating in a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to undertake a criminal investigation into the downing of MH17. The JIT investigation has been undertaken to implement the Council’s call in Resolution 2166 for a full, thorough and independent investigation into the incident.
8. The UN has expressed confidence that the investigation is being carried out in line with international standards. On the one year anniversary of the downing of MH17, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the progress made by the independent international investigation in accordance with Resolution 2166. ICAO has also expressed its support for the ongoing independent international investigation.
9. A year ago, the Council demanded accountability in Resolution 2166. It is now timely for the Council to take clear and decisive action to demonstrate its political will and determination to pursue the course of accountability for the senseless killings of those on board MH17.
10. That is why today, on behalf of the countries participating in the Joint Investigation Team, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine, Malaysia is requesting the Council to take action on the draft resolution to establish an ad hoc international criminal tribunal.
11. It is important for the Security Council to take clear and decisive action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter against those responsible for the downing of MH17 to send a clear message to the growing number of non-State actors with the ability to target civilian aircraft that such attacks are unacceptable.
12. Thus, the establishment of an international tribunal by the Council would send a clear message that the international community is committed to taking action against those who threaten international peace and security by endangering civil aviation. All those who travel by air will be more at risk if perpetrators are not held to account.
13. An international tribunal would also be best placed to deliver justice for the families of all victims. The creation of an obligation to cooperate with the proposed tribunal would also maximize the prospects of securing international cooperation with the tribunal.
14. The establishment of a tribunal prior to the completion of the criminal investigation would also ensure that this establishment is as depoliticised as possible, and is consistent with the Security Council’s own practice in relations to other ad hoc criminal courts and tribunals. Regardless of who the perpetrators were, we want to ensure that the arm of justice will reach them and that there will not be impunity.
15. Moreover, the draft Statute of the tribunal, which is annexed to the draft resolution, would ensure the independence of the judges and the Prosecutor, and provide full power to the Prosecutor to carry out his or her own investigations.
16. Malaysia, with the countries participating in the JIT, has been engaging with all Council members to seek support for the draft resolution. We have held consultations on the draft resolution and statute within the Council, and engaged in extensive outreach efforts, both in New York and in capitals, to explain our initiative, address possible concerns, and seek support from Council members and the grieving nations.
17. We would like to thank all those who supported our effort and co-sponsored the draft resolution today. As we submit the draft resolution to the vote, I wish to appeal to all Council members to bear in mind the call for justice and accountability by the victims’ families and loved ones, as well as the Council’s promise to ensure accountability in resolution 2166.
18. We must demonstrate a clear signal against impunity. The families and loved ones of the victims of MH17 would expect no less from us. We ask the Council to support our initiative.
19. For all these reasons, Malaysia will vote in favour of the present draft resolution. We urge all Council members to do the same.
20. Thank you.