THE HAGUE, June 28 (Xinhua) -- To persuade witnesses of the downing of flight MH17 to come forward, the Joint Investigative Team (JIT) involved in the criminal investigation of the crash from Wednesday on will spread video messages from victim's relatives in Ukraine.
The videos, in which two relatives explain the impact the plane crash has had on their lives, will be spread via a Ukrainian journalistic platform, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad announced.
One of the relatives shown in the videos is Silene Frederiksz, who lost her son in the crash. In Dutch current affairs television program EenVandaag she explained why she participates in this call for witnesses.
"You have to seize every possibility you get to find out the truth, and if I can contribute to that, I will just do it," she said. Frederiksz hopes the videos will give people who knew something a push to speak up.
The JIT hopes to draw the attention of inhabitants of particularly eastern Ukraine to the criminal investigation regarding the air disaster. The team hopes that people who did not want to speak up directly after the plane crash in 2014, are willing to speak up now, almost 3 years later.
It remains a question whether the messages will lead to something, said David Jan Godfroid, Moscow-based correspondent of Dutch broadcaster NOS. "For people in that region of Ukraine, it is not without risk to give information to the research team. If it becomes known they did so, they can expect a visit from the local authorities. And, the people who have left the area probably have already given a witness statement before if they wanted to share information," he explained.
The JIT emphasizes that people who want to make a statement can stay anonymous, and that there is special attention for the protection of witnesses.
Flight MH17, a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board died, among them 196 Dutch citizens.
A report published by the JIT in September 2016 concluded that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile brought from Russia and fired from a region in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Moscow has been denying the allegations and insisted a missile from territory controlled by the Ukrainian government troops shot the plane.
The JIT, in which the Netherlands Public Prosecutor's Office and the Dutch National Police work together with police and judicial authorities of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine, continues its criminal investigation to establish the facts, identify those responsible for the crash, and collect evidence which can be used in court.