This is a terrible tragedy, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of all passengers and crew who were killed The intentional downing of a civilian aircraft should never happen and is morally unacceptable and inexcusable.
At this time it is most important for independent, competent, and reliable investigators and rescue/recovery teams to:
• Protect and identify the victims' remains and assist in returning them to their families
• Secure and protect the crash scene and evidence
• Conduct a comprehensive, thorough, competent and independent investigation to determine exactly what happened and identify all responsible parties and wrongdoers
Under international law, the Ukraine is responsible to conduct the investigation, but the crash site is in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists. It is imperative that Russia support efforts to secure the crash site and to permit a full and fair investigation.
If as it appears, and if confirmed, Flight MH17 was shot-down intentionally, the international community must determine who is responsible and bring them to justice.
Liability of Malaysia Airlines under the Montreal Convention
The rights of the passenger victims and their families against Malaysia Airlines are defined by the Montreal Convention, an International Treaty that governs international air travel. The Convention defines both the rights of the passengers and the liability of the air carrier, Malaysia Airlines
• While there is a limitation of liability under the Montreal Convention that under some circumstances would limit Malaysia Airlines' liability, it does not apply unless the airline proves that the disaster was not due to its negligence or other wrongful act or omission, or if the airline proves that the disaster was caused solely by the wrongful act of a third party.
• Kreindler successfully prosecuted Montreal Convention claims against airlines in prior airplane shoot downs and terrorism attacks, including the KAL 007 shoot down by Russia, and the PanAm Lockerbie bombing.
Liability of Countries and Political Groups
• In addition to claims against Malaysia Airlines, the horrific actions at issue may expose countries and political groups to liability.
• Legal and political pressure is key to holding nations accountable for their misdeeds.
• Kreindler negotiated a $2.7 billion settlement from Libya in claims arising from the Lockerbie bombing and is currently in litigation with the sponsors of Al Qaeda, including Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 litigation.
Kreindler Partners Comment in the Media Regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: Click below
- CNN (7/23/2014): Will victims' families ever get justice?
- Associated Press (7/22/2014): Lax security at crash site hampers investigations
- Fox News (7/18/2014): Investigation focuses on flight path over disputed airspace
- NBC News (7/18/2014): The Downing of Malaysia Air 17: Liability Lawyers are Standing By
- USA Today (7/18/2014): Jet crash investigators need to scrutinize wreckage
- Reuters (7/18/2014): Investigators face tough task in Ukraine plane inquiry
- ABC News (7/17/2014): Flights avoiding air space in Ukrainian-Russian war zone after Malaysia plane crash