Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution forming tribunal for Malaysian Airlines flight MH17

Russia, on Wednesday, vetoed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution establishing an international tribunal that will investigate the downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 last year. Russia is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council known as P5 who have power to veto, enabling them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft.

“We have repeatedly stated that we do not back the idea of the creation of a tribunal under the chapter 7 of the UN. There are no grounds for this,” said Russia’s permanent envoy to UN Vitaly Churkin after the vote. In the voting, eleven of fifteen the Council members voted in favor, one against and three others abstained.

The current president of the said UN council New Zealand today voiced out disappointment in the failure of UN Security Council to adopt a resolution on an international tribunal into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine. 196 of 298 passengers who were killed were nationals of New Zealand.

The said aircraft was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was allegedly brought down by a missile fired by Russia-backed militia in Ukraine.

“As president of the United Nations Security Council, we have been working closely with Australia, Malaysia, the Netherlands and others to get the best possible outcome for the victims and their families, including co-sponsoring the resolution which would have established an international tribunal,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.

“An independent report on the cause of this tragedy is expected in the coming months. New Zealand will continue to push for accountability for the downing of flight MH17, alongside other affected countries,” McCully added.

US Permanent Representative to the UN Samantha Power said “Russia has callously disregarded the public outcry in the grieving nations, the appeals of the families affected. There cannot and will not be impunity for those who downed a civilian airliner with 298 people aboard.”