MH17 Becomes A Murder Case w/ Many Victims; Bishop’s Phone Compromised in Crash Site Negotiations

Australian flags fly at half-mast atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a sign of respect for those killed in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash
An Australian national flag and a New South Wales state flag (top) fly at half-mast atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge on July 19, 2014, as a sign of respect for those killed in the Malaysia Airlines passenger jetliner MH17 that crashed over eastern Ukraine. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott blamed Russia on Friday for the shooting down of MH17, killing all 298 people on board, including 28 Australians. Abbott appeared to go further than other Western leaders in apportioning blame over the crash, demanding that Moscow answer questions about the "Russian-backed rebels" that he said were behind the disaster.

The Netherlands is treating the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as the biggest criminal investigation ever to be tried in the country. The case is becoming more and more complicated as Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's phone found to be compromised while making negotiations for Australia to access the crash site.

Passengers from 10 different countries were aboard the downed MH17, hence, it became the largest, most complicated, criminal investigation that the Netherlands' will be handling, Wim de Bruin from the Dutch prosecution service told press.

"Never before have we had a murder case with so many victims," he said.

Currently, there were already ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 police officers involved in amassing probable evidence for a criminal trial to proceed. Even if the officials are only at the preliminary stage of the investigation, officials are definite about their plans. The suspects will be extradited to face trial at the District Court in The Hague - this despite the challenge of having the country, where the suspects will be extradited from, to cooperate.

De Bruin further said that its government are considering several grounds and possibilities to convict all perpetrators. The perpetrators can be charged with murder and wrecking an airplane according to their laws while they can also be charged with   war crimes like torture and genocide, he underlined.

Meanwhile, the involvement of Australia in the investigation and accessing of the crash site of the down MH17 took a more complicated turn.

During Bishop's two-week trip to negotiate access to the crash site, she made calls as she travelled to Ukraine, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Coming back to Australia, her phone was immediately sequestered by intelligence officials as they found that her calls were accessed.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the report and said that some countries did "target the phones of significant members of the Australian Government". He however assured people that all official calls are made over secure lines.

"It's the sort of thing that does happen from time to time. But I can assure the Australian people that the very significant discussions that Julie Bishop was part of with me and with other members of the National Security Committee in recent times were all done over secure lines," Mr Abbott told press.

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