UN Says MH-17 Downing "May Be War Crime"; Russia Responds Photos Of Ukraine Shelling Are Fake
With the start of the new weeks, and with the MH-17 tragedy increasingly more distant and blurred, with no definitive evidence on either presented so far, with a stripped black box revealing nothing, and with the Air Traffic control recordings still in Ukraine secret service hands, the "He said, She said" is about to escalate to a fever pitch.
The UN launched the first salvo when it announced earlier today that the downing of Malaysia Airlines jet MH17 in eastern Ukraine may constitute a "war crime", according to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay says.
"This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime," Ms Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said of the downing of MH17.
"Every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are," Ms Pillay said.
This is happening after a team of Australian and Dutch police and forensic experts was forced to abandon attempts to reach the site on Monday due to the security situation in the area. It was the second failed attempt in as many days. The reason: ongoing incursions by the Ukraine army in nearby towns. In a statement on Monday, the Ukrainian military said it had "entered" the towns of Shakhtarsk and Torez and was working to seize control of Pervomaysk and Snizhne - all close to the crash site of MH17. Irrelevant of the facts, this too will be blamed on Putin.
And speaking of Putin, based on all the evidence (all of it in the "hearsay", "emotional appeal" and "YouTube clip" format ), the UN is already setting the stage to brand the Russian president a war criminal. And yet, somehow we doubt it will have any more success in bringing him to "justice" than the Iraqi people will have in getting Colin Powell to stand for trial over the US invasion over fabricated WMD "evidence."
What certainly won't help international tribunal matters is that overnight, the same Hague court where Putin will soon be tried in absentia, ruled on Monday that Russia must pay a group of shareholders in oil giant Yukos $51.6 billion for expropriating its assets, a big hit for a country teetering on the brink of recession.
The arbitration panel in the Netherlands said it had awarded shareholders in the GML group just under half of their $114 billion claim, going some way to covering the money they lost when the Kremlin seized Yukos, once controlled by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
"The award is a slam dunk. It is for $50 billion, and that cannot be disputed," said Tim Osborne, director of GML. "It's now a question of enforcing it."
Good luck with that, because last time we checked Putin is not exactly "compliant" with arbitrary western propaganda decisions, unless of course it involves the capture of even more Crimeas in the process.
And speaking of Russian responses, remember those DigitalGlobe pics the US State Department presented as "evidence" of Russia's shelling of east Ukraine?
It didn't take long for Russia to promptly reject all of them outright as nothing but fakes. According to RIA, the Russian Defense Ministry says not possible to establish authenticity of U.S. satellite photos alleging shelling from Russian into Ukrainian territory, citing spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
Photos already were shown by Kiev; fakes prepared by U.S. advisers; source of fakes lost in information “carousel,” said the Russian newswire.
So now what: clearly any evidence that one side presents will be promptly refuted as fake or propaganda by the other side and vice versa. The big question is who will arbitrate, especially if a real, impactful retaliation against Russia refuse to come (where are those Gazprom sanctions). With China so far clearly on the side of Russia the question remains very much unanswered.
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