Families of the victims of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 called for justice on Monday (September 6) as they began testifying in the Dutch murder trial of four suspects.
Australian Vanessa Rizk lost her parents in the crash.
"They were gone just like that. Not even one hour later, the media was on the phone asking me to confirm if Albert and Marie Elizabeth Rizk were on (Malaysian Airlines) flight MH17. That was the moment I realized our loss was the knowledge of the world. I remember thinking to myself: how do I I even answer that? How would the perpetrators answer that if it was their loved ones? How would they feel if their life was caught up in a political nightmare that their country wasn't even involved in? How would (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his corrupt Russian government answer that?"
Rizk is one of dozens of relatives who will be given an opportunity to speak or submit written statements over the coming three weeks.
"It is now time for a conviction. I plead to the court that the victims and their families now receive justice. To the perpetrators: seven years ago you broke up my family in the worst way imaginable. Seven years on, I am determined that you will never, ever break my spirit, and capacity to live and love, just as my dear parents would have wanted me to."
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in 2014 when it was hit by what international investigators and prosecutors say was a Russian surface-to-air missile that originated from a Russian base just across the Ukrainian border.
All 298 people on board the passenger aircraft were killed.
Moscow denies all responsibility and has refused to extradite the suspects - three Russians and a Ukrainian citizen, who are all suspected of having key roles in the separatist forces.
Judges said on Monday they expected to issue a judgement in late 2022.