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by John Helmer, Moscow 

In the history of how English law evolved towards the individual rights most state constitutions and the UN’s declaration of human rights proclaim today, the Star Chamber was a nasty piece of work. Over the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Star Chamber was a court in London which received indictments prepared by the king; whose judges were picked and paid for by the king; whose evidence was decided by the king; whose witnesses were tortured by the king; and whose proceedings were held in the king’s meeting-room behind his armed guards. The Star Chamber was abolished by parliament after its army had defeated the king’s army and then executed the king himself.

The Dutch state is still in the fifteenth century stage. It is running the trial of charges against Russian Army officers for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as a Star Chamber process. The Dutch lawyers who are paid by the Russian state to defend the accused are also paid agents of the Dutch state; they comply; they don’t protest. The mainstream Dutch press, even the Dutch bloggers and alt-media, refuse to report the Star Chamber’s secrets. When The Hague District Court judge Hendrik Steenhuis revealed on Monday two of these secrets,  no one in The Netherlands reported noticing.

Steenhuis was presiding in the hearing he convened on February 8 in order to read out his ruling on requests for fresh evidence presented by the defence lawyers. The script took just thirty minutes. Watch the archive copy.  A printed Dutch text and English translation will follow on the court website shortly.  

Defence lawyers, Boudewijn van Eijck and Sabine ten Doesschate, at the opening of Monday’s hearing. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUpdFR_T6IQ For the full record of their conduct which international war crimes trial experts call negligent and incompetent, read this.

As Steenhuis has done consistently for months in the courtroom, he rejected almost all the defence requests.

The one exception, noted by the Russian state news agencies Tass and Sputnik,   was to allow the “attachment” of technical reports by the Russian missile manufacturer, Almaz-Antei, to the case dossier; these reports were first compiled in 2015-2016.   This was no endorsement by the judge of the Almaz-Antei findings.  To make this clear, Steenhuis also ruled that experts of Almaz-Antei shall not be allowed to inspect either physical pieces of the MH17 aircraft wreckage in storage at a Dutch military base; or even photographs.

The proceedings have now been adjourned until April 15. Inspection of the aircraft will take place in May. The formal trial will commence in June. For the lawyers’ case that Steenhuis has rigged the outcome for a guilty verdict, and that the defence lawyers are going along with the show trial, read the book.  The book has been banned from reference and review in The Netherlands and Australia.

Left: Presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis; centre, the only book in print in Dutch or English of the case and the trial; right, Dutch blogger Max van der Werff, a contributor to the book who does not endorse the case the book makes against the performance of the defence lawyers.  

In Monday’s ruling there were two exceptional secrets Steenhuis did not mean to reveal.

Responding to a defence request for photographs of “pieces of wreckage which were not recovered”   (Min. 28:26), Steenhuis said they were contained in a database produced from crash site photography in the Ukraine and preserved by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB), the aviation regulator.  Crash site photographs were not provided to the defence, Steenhuis claimed, “because there were photos of victims, and the public prosecution service does not want these photos to be spread” (Min. 29:25). The judge also said his “court cannot assist if the defence has received all DSB photos or if it has been able to look at them.” He then told the prosecutors to “check with the DSB if…there are any other photos of the wreckage of MH17 that it has, and if that is the case, to request the DSB if it would be possible to make them available” (Min 30:33).

Altogether, 298 people were killed on board MH17, including 15 crew.  Estimates of the number of bodies recovered at the crash site varied widely after the crash on July 17, 2014. Ultimately, all but two of the individuals on board have been identified.  

This rigmarole of Steenhuis conceals an attempt by the prosecution to prevent all records of the victims’  bodies from becoming evidence in the trial. Steenhuis knew the prosecutors were lying when they refused to hand over the victim photos to the defence to prevent them from becoming public. The judge was accepting the lie in order to reinforce his own decision that no evidence of the victims, the X-rays and scans of their injuries, and the post-mortem reports should be presented by the defence at trial — neither photo records from the crash site nor from the subsequent autopsies held in the Ukraine by Kiev pathologists nor in The Netherlands by Dutch, Malaysian, and Australian pathologists. Also, the Dutch lawyers who claim to be defending Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Pulatov have not obtained post-mortem reports, X-rays, magnetic resonance images, computer tomography scans,  and conventional photographs on file in the Kalinin morgue in Donetsk, and in coronial court files in Malaysia and Australia.

This evidence has been carefully documented and presented by Liane Theuerkauf  in chapter 2 of The Lie That Shot down MH17.  Her report exposes faking by the Ukrainian secret service, accompanied by Dutch police, at the Kharkiv post-mortems; it also proves the absence of the type of shrapnel which is dispersed from the Buk missile warhead the Dutch prosecution alleges to have been the murder weapon.

Not only has Steenhuis decided to withhold this evidence from the defence lawyers. Van Eijck and ten Doesschate themselves have failed to include the pathology evidence that is already available as part of their case. Lawyers representing the victims have also avoided this evidence. In this coverup the Dutch alt-media are as culpable as all the others. Read Theuerkauf’s chapter (with photographs) in the e-book edition here.

Source: https://www.amazon.com/Lie-That-Shot-Down-MH17  -- Chapter 2.

The second sensitive secret Steenhuis didn’t intend to spill in court on Monday was the identity of the examining magistrate or investigating judge — rechter commissaris in Dutch  —  who has been in charge of reviewing all prosecution records of wiretaps of the accused; witness interviews; radar imagery; Dutch technical expert analyses; and classified Dutch and NATO intelligence reports.  It is on this judge that Steenhuis has explicitly relied for all his rulings so far on the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence against the Russians; and also for his rejection of the additional evidence, witnesses and experts the defence lawyers have proposed.

Dutch lawyers explain that this judge “is appointed by the court for two years, and the defence lawyers [in the MH17 trial] certainly know with which rechter-commissaris they are dealing.” Why then is the name, background,  and career details of this judge not as publicly available as those of  Steenhuis, the other judges on the trial bench, or the prosecutors? According to an Amsterdam legal specialist, the letter of Dutch law does not require the concealment of the identity of this judge in the MH17proceeding.

What would happen if van Eijck or ten Doeschate revealed the name? Dutch legal sources are not sure.

That Steenhuis has intended to keep the judge’s name secret has been clear in the painstaking care he has exercised to use the term rechter commisaris whenever he has referred to the role or to decisions and reports already filed. Steenhuis has thus carefully avoided using the gender specific pronoun, he or she.

That was until Minute 45:39 – less than 60 seconds before he closed the hearing on Monday. At that instant Steenhuis referred to the investgating judge as “her”. Thus we know that in the Star Chamber behind Steenhuis’s court there is a woman who is afraid of being investigated herself.

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