The mother of a victim of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 has begun legal proceedings against Ukraine at the European Court of Human Rights, accusing Kiev of failing to close the country’s airspace, a German daily reported yesterday.
The woman, who lodged her complaint at the Strasbourg-based court “last week,” is suing Ukraine for 800,000 euros (US$1 million) in damages for negligent homicide, the Bild newspaper said.
The Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them from the Netherlands.
Four were German, according to the airline.
Kiev and the West have accused separatists of shooting it down with a surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia — a charge Moscow denies.
The plaintiff in the case claims that Ukraine should have closed its airspace to civilian flights when fighting raged in the east of the country, Bild reported.
The woman said that Ukraine chose not to close its airspace because it did not want to lose out on overflight fees.
At the time, about 700 flights were said to be crossing Ukrainian territory per day, bringing in several millions of euros a month in revenue, Bild said.
The woman is being defended by German lawyer Elmar Giemulla, a professor of aviation law, it said.
Giemulla announced in September he would represent three families of Germans killed in the crash.
“By keeping its airspace open for transit by aircraft from other countries, the state must ensure the safety of the flights. If this is temporarily impossible, it means that it should close its airspace,” he told reporters at the time.
Meanwhile in Kiev, Ukrainian authorities on Saturday banned flights to the rebel-held east of the former Soviet republic, the head of Ukraine’s aviation authority said.
“Flights are banned for Russian companies to Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk for safety reasons,” Denis Antoniuk told reporters without elaborating.
The two cities serve the rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.
The open-ended ban also affects a Ukrainian airline, Dniproavia, Antoniuk said.
The Lugansk airport has been gutted by fighting between separatists and Kiev forces, while combat continues over the Donetsk facility.
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