MH17 accused’s bizarre defence tactic
A Russian accused of downing Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 has used videos of former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in a bizarre defence tactic.
Lawyers for Oleg Pulatov played the videos of Mr Powell talking about weapons of mass destruction to a Dutch court investigating the murder of 298 people on-board the doomed flight, including 38 Australians.
His lawyers also argued for new investigations to be opened that would add years to the trial, warning that without them they may appeal.
Pulatov is one of three Russians and a Ukrainian accused of being responsible for the downing of the jet in July 2014.
Boudewijn van Eijck, for Pulatov, claimed the Ukraine had pushed investigators towards a theory that a Russian Buk missile was used to shoot down the plane over disputed territory in the east of the country.
"The investigation was under the control of the Ukraine prosecution service and the actual practical investigation was conducted by the investigation division of the SBU," he told the court.
"The remit and methods of security services, such as the SBU, do not focus on primarily uncovering the truth but rather they focus on serving the national interest, and I'd like to take you back to a recent point in history."
Mr Van Eijck then bizarrely showed a series of TV interviews of the then US Secretary of state Colin Powell talking about WMDs in Iraq before and after the US invasion in 2003.
He also played recordings of fighter jet sounds, which he said supported witness claims that Ukrainian military planes had been flying in the area that MH17 crashed.
There was no evidence that other jets had been in the area.
Pulatov was the only suspect to provide a defence at the Dutch court, and none of the accused have turned up to hearings in person.
Igor Girkin has said he accepts "moral responsibility" but denies soldiers under his command were to blame, while Sergey Dubinskiy and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko have not responded the murder charges.
Another of Pulatov's defence lawyers, Sabine ten Doesschate, played at Russian TV interviews with people claiming to have seen jets near MH17.
She says those people had not been interviewed by the JIT.
"The internet is full of this: these videos, images or other footage, and many other theories that could have been dismissed or set aside as conspiracy theories," Ms ten Doesschate said.
Mr Van Eijck said the JIT had not proven a clear chain of command linking his client Pulatov to the people who fired the missile and that a motive had not been established.
He claimed no witnesses had seen a missile hit MH17 as it flew at a height of 10,000 metres.
Mr Van Eijck stressed that alternative crash scenarios, particularly an air-to-air attack by Ukrainian fighter jets, were not investigated thoroughly enough by the JIT.
"Objective fact-finding had really been put very much on the backburner in this case," he said.
Mr Van Eijck asked the court to allow further investigation of every possible alternative scenario, alluding to the possibility of retrials and appeals.
"Our request should be warmly received, partly in order to make sure that this case never has to be reviewed or appealed," he said.
The hearing continues.
- with AAP
Originally published as MH17 accused's bizarre defence tactic