Investigators probing the missile attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are to concentrate on narrowing the list of suspects, having determined the launch site for the weapon.
The joint investigation team, during a briefing on the criminal inquiry, says it has identified around 100 individuals which “can be linked” to the Boeing 777’s destruction or the transport of the weapon system.
It is continuing to search for, and gather, evidence to build a criminal case over the 17 July 2014 attack.
The inquiry team says it is looking into the chain of command to establish who gave the orders to bring the missile transporter into Ukraine and, subsequently, to shoot down the 777.
“Did the crew decide for themselves or did they execute a command from their superiors?” the inquiry asks. “This is important when determining the offences committed by the alleged perpetrators.”
While the launch site, east of Torez, has been determined, the precise circumstances of the attack remain hazy, and there is no conclusive indication as to whether the attackers knew that the target was a commercial flight or whether the 777 was mistaken for a military aircraft.
The inquiry points out that Ukrainian law offers leniency for those who co-operate with a criminal probe.
Agreements covering the joint investigation have been extended to 1 January 2018 to enable the team to continue supporting the prosecution effort.