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Rebels who shot MH17 will face justice

AAP logoAAP 1/10/2016

Russian-backed rebels responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, killing 298 people including 38 Australians, could face prosecution in Dutch courts once international investigations are finished.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says that's one of several options for justice to be served if, as expected, Russia vetoes any United Nations Security Council action.

Labor has offered bipartisan support to the government in pursuing all options to make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

MH17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014 as it was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

A Dutch-led investigation has found almost 100 people were linked to the transport and firing of the Buk missile at the plane, and that it was driven from Russia into an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed rebels.

It will next identify the chain of command within the Russian military and all those involved in making decisions and operating the missile, Ms Bishop said on Sunday.

She expects a list of those who should be held accountable to be confirmed by early 2017.

"Then there must be a prosecution," she told ABC TV

Russia has rejected all suggestions its military was involved in the incident.

Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said the starting point for justice should be looking to the world community, via the UN, to act.

"But if Russia moves to prevent that, we should not allow that to prevent further action and every avenue, every prospect of a tribunal should be explored," she told reporters in Adelaide.

Ms Bishop wouldn't rule out a UN-backed prosecution but expects Russia will veto any attempt to set it up.

"There can be a Lockerbie-style prosecution, a tribunal that's set up by the international community, or there can be domestic prosecutions in, say, the Netherlands," she said.

"As long as they had the powers of extradition and the like, a prosecution could be mounted successfully in a domestic jurisdiction, but that would cover the interests of the 298 victims aboard that flight."

She rejected Russia's theories about how the plane came to be shot as "improbable, implausible".

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