Legal, liability issues arise with Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash

Aviation attorney Robert Clifford says “shooting down civilian airplanes with military resources should not be tolerated or go without strong response.”

As investigators try to identify who was behind the likely downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a myriad of legal issues arise.

Early on, investigators had a problem reaching the crash site to inspect what remained of the flight. These included aviation specialists and forensic investigators.

Looking ahead, there are some longer-term legal issues related to the incident. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai says Malaysia Airline is not liable, according to a report from Time. He also said in a press conference that the flight used “an approved route” — one used by 15 other international air carriers “routinely,” according to a news report.

However, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last month urged “airlines to avoid Ukrainian airspace.” In particular, they cautioned flights about the Simferopol region of Ukraine.

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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