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Published On: Thu, Feb 16th, 2017

Analysis of Russian Radar Data in MH17 Case Time Consuming – Dutch Prosecutor

nsnbc : The office of the Dutch Prosecutor General  who leads the criminal investigation in the case of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 say analysis of primary radar data provided by Russia is time-consuming.

MH17_DSB_WreckageThe office of the Prosecutor General noted that it will “still take considerable time to analyze the radar images. … Already in October 2014, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) sent a first request for legal assistance to the Russian Federation, requesting all information which might be relevant for the investigation. … At the end of September 2016, the Russian Federation released new radar images on television.”

These images were made available to the Dutch side last month after having been broadcast on TV. The Dutch authorities stress that there are problems analyzing the date which stem from what was described as an unusual format, in which Russia provided the information. “For the exchange of information air traffic control agencies often make use of the so called ASTERIX format, which has been developed by Eurocontrol, the Attorney’s Office said, adding that:

“The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) does not oblige the use of this format, but in a manual it does mention the ASTERIX format as a useful standard. … The ASTERIX format is internationally accepted and is being used worldwide. … The Russian Federation has not provided the radar data using the ASTERIX format. .. In order to still be able to analyse the images, the Russian authorities had included separate software without a manual.”

The office noted that the ASERIX format is usually also used in Russia. However, the software was written in Russian and that is why the Dutch experts had to translate it first and then to test it in order to verify its functionality and reliability, stated the Dutch authorities.  “Translating and getting familiar with the software were both time consuming, .. Only after that, the data could be analyzed,” they added.

The Attorney’s Office noted that the transferred data show less than if it had been provided in the ASTERIX format. To move on with the necessary procedures, the team investigating the MH17 accident had to hire ‘external expertise’. The investigators reportedly also informed the Russian judicial authorities that they would sent an additional request for legal assistance.

It is noteworthy that the conclusion of the first, not criminal investigation, concluded that airlines as well as flight control authorities were operatingover 160 flights on the day of the incident, over the area where the incident happened, even though it was known that a conflict was in progress there. nsnbc international – as a matter of principle – calls for changes to ICAO regulations and national and international law. ICAO regulations recommend that no other “evidence” than “final reports” are made available to media. nsnbc would be happy to find independent experts to analyze the radar data.

CH/L – nsnbc 16.02.2017

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