When in a criminal investigation two or more countries are cooperating, there are rules to be followed so that the results of the criminal investigation of the one country can be used in the criminal investigation(s) of the other country or countries. Furthermore, there are also rules to see to it that certain investigative activities may be carried out in one country for the benefit of another country. When countries have a common goal in their investigations, they may also decide to join forces. For this purpose a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) can be formed. In the criminal investigation into the MH17 disaster, such a JIT was set up. In this JIT, the countries which were hit the most, i.e. the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia and Belgium are working together with Ukraine, where the crash took place.
The results of the criminal investigation should meet the standards we set in the Netherlands for an investigation. This also applies to the other participating countries. The requirements for a criminal investigation are different in each country. This means that there is a lot of consultation going on within the JIT about what the rules are and how in certain countries evidence is gathered. The cooperation within the JIT enables Dutch and Australian police officers to be active on Ukrainian territory, together with Ukrainian investigation officers.
Right at the start, the position of Ukraine in the Joint Investigation Team was discussed with the Ukrainian authorities. After all, Ukraine itself is a party to the armed conflict in which flight MH17 was shot down. Arrangements have been made to ensure the independence of the investigation. In this respect it was agreed that the investigation will be conducted jointly and that the results will be scrutinised continuously by the other members of the JIT, so they cannot be challenged at an international level. A team of Australian and Dutch investigation officers is permanently present in Ukraine, in the so-called Field Office.