On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine while enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Onboard the aircraft, nearly two thirds of the passengers were Dutch citizens but there were also a significant number of Malaysians (many of whom were the crew) and Australian citizens and residents. In addition, a large number of the passengers were travelling to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. Accordingly, Australia had a close connection with many of the people onboard the aircraft.
The destruction of MH17 occurred during an armed conflict in Ukraine between pro-Russian forces and the forces of the Ukrainian government. Attribution of blame for the firing of the missile that destroyed the aircraft remains contested between the belligerents.
Immediately after the aircraft was shot down, the Australian Government launched a Whole-of-Government response to the MH17 air disaster in Ukraine which included the deployment of personnel to the Ukraine from a wide range of government agencies and departments. Numerous legal issues arose prior to, during, and subsequent to this deployment.
This seminar, which will be held on the 1st anniversary of the loss of MH17, will explore the manner in which a number of these legal issues were addressed and also subsequent developments to address some of those issues. Presentations will be given by officials that were directly involved, as well as academic commentators who will provide their perspective on the issues that emerged following flight MH17 being destroyed.