KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia vowed on Tuesday to seek the prosecution of the “trigger-happy criminals” who downed flight MH17, after a Dutch-led investigation said it was shot down by a missile fired from war-torn eastern Ukraine.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said in a statement that as a party to the investigation “Malaysia remains single-minded in our pursuit of decisive action that will lead to prosecution of the trigger-happy criminals.”
Prime Minister Najib Razak also released a statement vowing that his government would continue to press for justice “until those behind this heinous act are made to pay for their crimes.”
In a highly anticipated announcement, the chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, Tjibbe Joustra, told a press conference in the Netherlands that the Malaysia Airlines plane was likely downed by a missile fired from a Russian BUK surface-to-air missile system.
Maps shown to reporters also indicated the missile was believed to have been fired from territory held by pro-Russian separatists.
All 298 people on board, most of them Dutch citizens, were killed.
The Dutch Safety Board, which led the international team of investigators, has stressed that its mandate was not to determine who pulled the trigger, amid a separate criminal probe by Dutch prosecutors.
Here is the full text of the statement:
"With today's release of the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) final report after months of meticulous and independent investigations, it clearly points to a 9N314M-model warhead carried on the 9M38-series of missiles, as installed on the Buk surface-to-air missile system as being the cause of the crash of MH17.
During this trying time, our thoughts and prayers are with the next of kin and loved ones of the passengers and crew onboard MH17. Malaysia stands with them.
Armed with the DSB report, Malaysia with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) handling the criminal investigation is ever more resolute to seek justice. As part of the JIT, Malaysia remains single-minded in our pursuit of decisive action that will lead to prosecution of the trigger-happy criminals.
The international tribunal under the UN Security Council may have been vetoed but our fight for justice is far from over. Malaysia together with our JIT partners, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine and Australia are working towards adopting a treaty to establish an independent international court in order to have an effective prosecution mechanism for those responsible.
The thorough examination of the wreckage of flight MH17 by DSB determined that the damage was caused by a warhead that detonated outside and above the left hand side of the cockpit.
The aeroplane was struck by a large number of small fragments with different shapes and sizes (cubic and bow-tie shapes) moving at high velocity. These are consistent with the warhead of a BUK surface-to-air missile system.
The DSB also excluded a number of possible causes based on stringent analysis before arriving at their conclusion. As part of their report, DSB concluded that the crew, airworthiness and flight plan, loading and cargo, and airspace restriction amongst others could be eliminated as the cause of the accident.
Malaysia would like to record our thanks to the DSB for its meticulous and transparent investigation that now enables us to move forward on more solid ground.
I have said many a times. The international community must stand united in the quest to make our skies safer.
We cannot delay implementing changes in the way global commercial aviation operates. There must be mandatory timely reporting of relevant information on flight risks to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) by member states and ICAO must establish global protocol to disseminate this information to member states and airlines.
It will make the difference between life and death."