17:12 Sep. 1, 2016
Newly released papers reveal more details on government's reaction to the plane cras
Immediately after the MH17 crash, Dutch government suggested that Russian separatists were to blame for the downing of the plane. This fact and a number of other new details were revealed after a court in the Netherlands forced the Ministry of Security and Justice to publish more documents on the disaster, Dutch media reported on September 1.
Public documents have been released after a successful freedom of information request from the Volkskrant paper, NOS and RTL Nieuws broadcasters. Some parts of these documents had been redacted – with parts of the text blacked out – and others were previously unreleased. The NOS reports that many are still secret.
The papers show how country's authorities feared social unrest in the Netherlands in the days following the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight from Amsterdam in July 2014 that killed 298 people, including 196 Dutch nationals.
"Given the images of the crash, the probability of survivors is nil", the documents read.
"The event will cause a lot of emotions given the high number of (Dutch) victims… If there are children among the victims that will increase the emotions… If there are signs that the plane was shot down, this will create an additional shock, especially if it was done intentionally."
To monitor the situation the government held a close eye on opinion polls, the media and comments on social media.
The reports show that senior officials initially wanted prosecution of the perpetrators to happen in the Netherlands. "Prosecution in the Netherlands is desirable."
The documents also reveal how the government handled the aftermath and the problems they faced from day one, for example, difficulties with the repatriation of victims.
On July 23rd, six days after the disaster, the National Coordinator sent a piece to the crisis team of ministers that read: "The unguarded state of the disaster state and the reported compromise of wreckage reaffirm that investigation into the circumstances of the disaster will be difficult. There may also be need to take into account the possibility that not all bodies or body parts will be found or identified." The Day of National Mourning was also discussed in the document.
Earlier this week, families of the victims said they had written an open letter to the European Union foreign policy chief demanding to hand over more intelligence and radar data to the investigators.