Today’s news that a Russian-built Buk missile launched from eastern Ukraine brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) has set off fresh calls to hold the perpetrators legally responsible. That is exponentially easier said than done, as I discussed last year on Opus Publicum in a series of off-the-cuff posts examining the international-law issues surrounding the tragedy. (For those unaware, I am the co-author of a critical treatise on international aviation law published by Cambridge University Press.)
At this point I see no compelling reason to substantially revise the preliminary conclusions I reached last year: Russia will skate; the Ukrainian rebels directly responsible will likely not be apprehended; and Malaysia Airlines itself will wind up footing the civil-liability bill. For those interested, I have linked the original posts below.