Today marks a significant development in bringing to justice those responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine nearly five years ago.
With 38 Australian citizens and permanent residents among the 298 killed, this was one of the worst ever crimes perpetrated against Australians.
As one of the founding members of the Joint Investigating Team, the Australian Federal Police deployed over 500 officers in support of this operation to work alongside investigators from other nations whose nationals were also lost in this criminal action.
It is one of the most protracted and complex investigations the AFP has ever undertaken.
I would like to commend these investigators, forensics officers and other specialists who have worked to identify victims, repatriate remains and pursue the evidence to prosecute those responsible over a long period of years in Europe and Eastern Europe.
They worked in difficult and confronting circumstances alongside colleagues from the Department of Defence and Department of Foreign Affairs. They did so in the most professional and thorough manner and their work is an integral part leading to today’s announcement that four individuals face criminal charges for their alleged roles in this terrible crime.
The AFP will continue to work with their counterparts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine and Malaysia as part of the Joint Investigation Team which is determined to pursue all possible suspects.
Our commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice remains firm.