UK reviews immunity rules after crash involving US diplomat's wife

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab participates in joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 7, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 21 October 2019

UK reviews immunity rules after crash involving US diplomat's wife

LONDON: Britain said on Monday it was reviewing the rules which govern diplomatic immunity arrangements for US personnel at an air force base after a man was killed when his motorbike collided with a car driven by a US diplomat’s wife.
Harry Dunn, 19, died in August near RAF Croughton, a base in the central English county of Northamptonshire used by the US military. American Anne Sacoolas left Britain after the fatal crash.
“I have already commissioned a review of the immunity arrangements for US personnel and their families at Croughton,” foreign minister Dominic Raab told parliament.
“As this case has demonstrated, I do not believe the current arrangements are right and the review will look at how we can make sure that the arrangements at Croughton cannot be used in this way again.”
The government had been warned by the United States that Sacoolas was going to leave Britain, Raab also said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged President Donald Trump to reconsider a decision to let Sacoolas use diplomatic immunity to leave the country.
Trump met Dunn’s parents earlier this month in Washington, saying their meeting was “sad” but “beautiful.” In a subsequent interview the family said they felt pressure to allow the American woman to join the session.


MH17 probe reveals close ties between Russia, Ukraine rebels

Updated 14 November 2019

MH17 probe reveals close ties between Russia, Ukraine rebels

  • The Joint Investigation Team issued a fresh appeal for witnesses and revealed details of secure communications between Russian officials and rebels

THE HAGUE: An international team of investigators piecing together a criminal case in the July 2014 shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine said Thursday that evidence suggests links between Russia and separatists in the region were closer than previously believed.
The Joint Investigation Team issued a fresh appeal for witnesses and revealed details of secure communications between Russian officials and rebels in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) rebel group in eastern Ukraine.
“The JIT has information that indicates that the influence of the Russian Federation extended to administrative, financial and military matters in the DPR,” the team said in a statement, adding that contacts between Russia and the rebels intensified in the first half of July 2014.
“There was almost daily telephone contact between the leadership of the DPR and their contacts in the Russian Federation,” the JIT said. “They spoke with leaders in Moscow, near the border with Ukraine and in Crimea. Communication mostly took place via secure telephones provided by the Russian security service.”
In June, the investigators announced they had charged four people, including three Russians, with murder over the July 17, 2014, downing of Flight MH17. All 298 passengers and crew on board the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight were killed.
The suspects are due to go on trial in a secure courtroom near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in March, though they are not in custody and will likely be tried in their absence.
Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the downing.
But investigators said their probe revealed that “Russian influence on the DPR went beyond military support.”
The team, made up of detectives and prosecutors from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine, last year said it was convinced that the Buk missile system used to shoot down flight MH17 came from the Russian army’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade, based in the Russian city of Kursk.
The team said Thursday it is looking for witnesses “who can share information about those who controlled the DPR leadership in Donetsk and commanded the deployment of the Buk” missile system.
“The indications for close ties between leaders of the DPR and Russian government officials raise questions about their possible involvement in the deployment” of the missile, the investigators said.