Journal of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Social Sciences Edition ›› 2015, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 63-69.DOI: 10.13766/j.bhsk.1008-2204.2015.0630

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Reflections on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 from Perspective of International Law

Gao Guozhu   

  1. Law School, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing 100191, China
  • Received:2014-12-01 Online:2015-01-25 Published:2015-01-24


On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines (MH17) was shot down by a missile in eastern Ukraine where fierce fighting were going on between Ukrainian forces and insurgents, killing all passengers and crew aboard. Based on relevant facts, this article holds that intentional shooting down of the civilian airliner of other countries is a criminal offence that seriously endangers the safety of civil aviation. It violates the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in 1949 and constitutes war crime under the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. Due to many restrictions, it is difficult for the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice to employ jurisdiction over the states or persons involved in this tragedy. However, the state where the crime occurred, the state where the aircraft registered, the state where the criminals hide or the state to which the victims' nationality belongs have jurisdiction based on their domestic laws or according to the universal jurisdiction principle.

Key words: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, jurisdiction, International Criminal Court, war crime, International Law

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