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MH17 Downing in Eastern Ukraine May Amount to War Crime - UN

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The downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine may constitute a "war crime," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Monday, presenting a report on situation in Ukraine.

GENEVA, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - The downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine may constitute a "war crime," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Monday, presenting a report on situation in Ukraine.

“The horrendous shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines plane on 17 July came just after the cut-off date of this report. This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime. It is imperative that a prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation be conducted into this event,” Pillay stressed.

The High Commissioner called on “all those involved in the conflict, including foreign fighters” to ensure that “anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are.”

“I urge all sides to bring to an end the rule of the gun and restore respect for the rule of law and human rights,” Pillay concluded.

On Monday, the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report documenting human right violations in Ukraine. The report covers the period of June 8 to July 15. The UN Monitoring Group documented increasing number of civilian casualties in Donetsk and Luhansk regions as both pro-Kiev forces and militia are using heavy weaponry, including artillery, tanks, rockets and missiles, in the clashes.

According to the report, more than 1,100 people have been killed in the Ukrainian conflict since mid-April and more than 100,000 others have fled the conflict zone.

The Malaysia Airlines plane, carrying 298 people, including 85 children, was downed on July 17 near the town of Torez in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Region. There were no survivors.

The Ukrainian government and the militia forces in the country’s east have blamed each other for the downing of the airliner, with independence supporters saying they lacked the equipment to shoot down a target flying at altitude of 33,000 feet.

Moscow has repeatedly warned against making hasty conclusions and politicized statements related to the crash, and called for an impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

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