Australian families hope trial will reveal the truth about MH17


Many of the families of the 38 Australian victims say they hope the trial of the perpetrators will finally reveal the truth about who was responsible for the MH17 tragedy.

Five years ago, all 298 people on board MH17 died - including 38 Australians - and now many of the families say they hope the trial of the perpetrators will finally reveal the truth behind the incident.

Malaysia Airline flight MH17 was travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur in 2014 when it was hit by a missile over part of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels.

On Wednesday, international investigators charged three Russians and a Ukrainian with murder over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Russia has criticised charges as "absolutely unfounded accusations". 

MH17 debris
The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 killed all 298 people aboard.

Brisbane man Paul Guard lost his parents on MH17 and he told SBS News that he has welcomed the news that four men - three Russians and a Ukrainian - will face trial.

"We need to make sure that this never happens again and whether that involves holding people to account which is part of it, but also changing the rules around flying over conflict zones," he said.

Sydney Sacred Heart nun Sister Philomene Tiernan also died - for more than 10 years she was a nurturing figure to girls at the Kincoppal Rose Bay Boarding house.

The school is honouring her memory with a bursary in perpetuity for three students to attend the school.

Anne-Maree Bennett
Anne-Maree Bennett.
SBS News

Today, the place where the Malaysian Airlines Boeing Triple-7 crashed nearly five years ago is full of sunflowers, and Anne-Maree Bennett, who is the director of Kincoppal Rose Bay Boarding house boarding, said the flowers are an important symbol.

"In the story of the accident, the tragedy the symbol of the sunflower seeds is very profound for us, that idea that something might wither something might die, but something very special can grow from that," Ms Bennett said.

She says that tragedy has a lasting impact on students at the school.

"The grieving was profound. And long. For quite a long time the girls needed support and encouragement to see the value of her life and the way now that we've developed the bursary funds in memory of her to continue her good work with the boarders," she said.

Mary Shanahan.
Mary Shanahan.
SBS News

Sister Mary Shanahan said students at the school are pleased that Sister Phil's legacy as an educator will live on after her death in the plane crash.

"Well, I think they're very very happy that other children have been given the possibility of continuing with an education that Phil loved and obviously dedicated her life to - and for us to think that children will continue to receive that education - we're happy for that," she told SBS News.

She said a wing of the school also bears the nun's name.

"We don't want to dwell on who we have to forgive or what we have to forgive," she said.

"The more important thing for us is that the love that she had in her life, that's the legacy that will go on.

"It's love that we want to ... that's our memory of her."

Political leaders and victims' families hope something like this never happens again.

They're calling for Russia to cooperate with the court case and hope that the trial of the alleged perpetrators will bring out the truth of what really happened to Flight MH17.

Australian politicians on both sides have also called on Russia to stop obstructing the justice process.

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