The Dutch justice minister, Ferd Grapperhaus, said the Netherlands refused a request by Moscow to consider allowing Russia to prosecute three Russian nationals identified as suspects in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
MH17 was shot down with a Russian-made BUK missile by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the death of 298 civilians, two-thirds of whom were Dutch.
The first court hearing in the Dutch case against the three Russian suspects and one Ukrainian is scheduled for 9 March. If the suspects do not show up, the trial will continue without them.
“The justice minister answered that the transfer of prosecution of the three Russian suspects was not an option for the Dutch authorities and will not be considered”, Grapperhaus said in a letter to parliament about the progress of the case.
Russia, who denies the accusations, does not extradite its own citizens, meaning the Russian suspects are not expected to appear in a Dutch court. However, a Dutch law company has said that one of the Russian suspects in the case has asked it to represent him.