"It is true [that Resch has been invited to the hearing as a witness]. The court wrote me that the case had not yet advanced so far as to think about witnesses since it is still dealing with formal issues [to find out] whether it is possible to start such a hearing," Giemulla said.
The lawyer explained that the ECHR was currently looking whether it could start considering the case that had not previously been heard in a German national court. According to the lawyer, the plaintiffs do not fall under the jurisdiction of a Ukrainian court, while the case cannot be considered in Germany either, therefore it is possible that the ECHR will finally hear the case as early as this year.
He added that if a positive decision on the issue was made, the hearing could happen "for example, in fall."
Giemulla has already invited a number of other witnesses to the future hearings, in particular, Oleksandr Dotsenko, the acting chief of the Air Traffic Service of Ukraine, and a representative of the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, commonly known as Eurocontrol. The lawyer noted that he had already informed the court about those invited to the trial.
Asked what kind of testimony Resch could provide to the court, Giemulla pointed out that he was unaware of the details, noting, however, that Resch did have "information that the Air Traffic Service of Ukraine knew exactly about the issues" related to the MH17 crash.
Resch, a German detective who has carried out his own investigation into the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash, earlier said that he knew the names of those responsible for the tragedy and possessed other data, which he says the Dutch-led international investigation keeps ignoring.
In an open letter in July, Resch offered new information about the crash to the Dutch prosecution and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), but his proposal had been rejected because he asked to make the materials public. The detective specified that he insisted that the data be publicly revealed over fears for his life in light of repeated threats he had received in connection with his investigation.
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was downed over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 as the region was mired in a conflict with the new government following a coup earlier that year. As a result, all 298 passengers – mostly Dutch – and crew on board were killed in the crash.
Following the tragedy, Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in the region blamed each other for the downing, with the latter contending that they had no military equipment that would allow them to shoot down an aircraft at that altitude.
While the two sides exchanged accusations, the United States and a number of European nations rushed to allege that Russia was responsible for the shootdown – a claim that was made even before an official investigation was launched.
Shortly thereafter, the Netherlands set up a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) to probe the MH17 case, having, however, left out Russia from the process despite its consistent offers to assist in the investigation.
The JIT concluded that the plane was brought down by the missile, which came from the 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, based near Russia's Kursk. The Russian Foreign Ministry refuted the conclusions as groundless and called the investigation biased.
After being denied access to the formal probe, Russia carried out its own investigation, which included extensive studies of forensic evidence and declassification of certain information about advance military hardware, among other things.
The Russian Defence Ministry has said that in 2011, the Russian authorities disposed of all the missiles from the series that included the missile whose engine the JIT demonstrated as an evidence to prove Russia's involvement in the downing of the plane.
In the final report published on 18 June 2019, the JIT accused three Russians and one Ukrainian of being responsible for the jet's crash, issuing international arrest warrants on them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the report for failing to address "a lot of questions" that remained unanswered. The president also slammed the JIT for failing to consider the Russia's account of the events and the results of its own investigation into it, and simply "appointing perpetrators", instead of figuring out what in fact happened on the day of the crash.