Criminal investigation of MH17 crash

Tulips for the casualtiesThe Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie, or “Public Ministry”) has launched an official investigation of the crash of MH17, on the basis of suspicion of war crimes, murder and intentional shooting down of a civil airplane.

The country lost nearly 200 people who were aboard the Malaysian Airlines flight.

Public prosecutor Thijs Berger of the division of international crimes has been in Kiev since Saturday.

In 2003, the Netherlands International Crimes Act came into force, which enables the Dutch to prosecute anyone (also in other countries) who has committed a war crime against any Dutch national.

A second possibility is that Ukraine asks the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to prosecute suspects. In April of this year, Ukraine requested the ICC to investigate possible war crimes committed during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych in the period from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. The Netherlands may be able to get the ICC to extend this investigation up to and including 17 July 2014, when MH17 crashed.

Yesterday, the Netherlands took charge of the international coordination surrounding the disaster. Recovering and repatriating the remains of the deceased takes priority.

Source: Dutch daily newspaper NRC.

(The Netherlands has a separate Department of Justice and Police as well.)

Bar pro bono unit, legal assistance charity

The unfairness and injustice to which so many Britons are subjected often feels like someone is spitting in my face.

court of lawA few minutes ago, I was composing a letter to someone and found myself explaining something, and then found myself wanting to dive into the issue. It made me realise that there is probably a need in the UK for an organisation of smart volunteers – a bit like the Innocence project in the US – that carries out research and investigations for various cases that need more support but are hampered by a lack of funds.

So I did a web search. First I found an organisation that often holds marches in the UK and is generally shunned. Then I found the Bar Pro Bono Unit. It is a charity which helps to find pro bono (free) legal assistance from volunteer barristers.

I also found the National Pro Bono Centre, with links to additional organisations.

The UK has its own Innocence Project. It was started in 2004.

Here in Portsmouth, the university’s law school carries out various pro bono activities.

Human rights curtailed even further in the UK?

Not if the LibDems can help it, they say. The Independent has the story:

Britain, firmly stuck in the dark ages in so many regards, cannot afford this kind of setback. Don’t let any political party push back Britain even further.

Massive public-sector strikes today

Many schools and libraries were closed, for example. Read more: here.

The Prime Minister commented that he considers these strikes illegal.

The same people who leave the poorest, chronically ill, lowest paid and handicapped dangling and have cut legal aid as well so that these groups of people are even more incapacitated than they already are and are less able to defend themselves against cruel cuts and crazy measures via legal pathways, weren’t those also the ones who had no problem with the idea of an 11% pay rise for MPs?

The minimum wage is going up, though. By £0.05.

TTIP consultation web site crashed

Did you take part in the EU-wide public consultation on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership last week? (Among other things, it appears to want to allow large corporations to sue countries if it does not their laws.)

You may have to resubmit your response.
Last week, so many people submitted their contribution to the consultation that the website crashed.

You only have a few days to resubmit.

If you submitted your opinion via 38 Degrees, you can use this link to resubmit.

As the next step in the transatlantic negotiations starts on 14 July, there is not much time.

Update Michael Hilton

I have made a little bit more progress. I have found out who represented Mr Hilton in June. I may also have found out who will be representing him in the future. I am going to provide that latter party with some information that may help.

This case matters to me personally. I feel strongly that there should be people who stand up for this man (Mr Hilton) and support him. Everyone who falls prey to this incredibly unfair bedroom tax deserves support anyway.

For reasons of confidentiality, I don’t think I will be able to report much more from now on until Mr Hilton is released. Yes, he should be released.

I already knew who the arresting officer was, which sergeant was in charge, to which court the matter has been committed, and what the number of the court case is.