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Malaysia seeks plane crash tribunal

Malaysia has told the United Nations that it plans to submit a resolution that would establish an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine.

Diplomats said Malaysia's UN ambassador Ramlan Bin Ibrahim informed Security Council members that the resolution was being prepared by the five countries investigating the Boeing 777 crash and would be under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, which can be enforced militarily.

New Zealand's UN ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, the current council president, said after Malaysia's closed-door briefing that the five countries - Malaysia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Australia and Belgium - were seeking "criminal accountability" for the downing of the aircraft.

Flight MH17, heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17 last year over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

Controversy continues over who downed the plane.

Ukraine and the West suspect it was destroyed by a Russian surface-to-air missile fired by Russian soldiers or Russia-backed separatist rebels fighting in the area. Moscow denies that and Russian officials and state media have claimed the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian missile or a warplane.

Diplomats said Russia, a veto-wielding member of the security council, held the key to adoption of a resolution.

Malaysian diplomat Johan Ariff Abdul Razak said after the security council discussions that "our sense was that all council members including Russia were open to further consider the matter".

According to diplomats, Mr Ibrahim said that in the coming days he hoped to circulate the proposed text of a resolution with the draft statute to establish the tribunal in an annex.

The ambassador said he would like to see its adoption by the end of July, the diplomats said.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said his government believes a tribunal is the "best option for bringing to justice the perpetrators".

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