Dutch reject MH17 relatives' request for U.N.-led crash inquiry

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government on Tuesday rejected a proposal from relatives of victims of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to let the United Nations take charge of its criminal investigation into the disaster.

A request to appoint a special U.N. envoy to take over the inquiry was sent on Friday by a law firm representing 20 relatives, who have accused the Netherlands of failing to build a legal case to prosecute those responsible..

“The investigation by the Dutch Safety Board is being carried out not only by Dutch investigators,” wrote Dick Schoof, a senior justice ministry official in a reply to the lawfirm, listing the 11 countries that had contributed to the team, including Malaysia, Russia and Ukraine.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed on July 17 over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew, two-thirds of them Dutch. Experts say the most likely cause was a ground-to-air missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian separatists.

Reporting By Thomas Escritt and Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Crispian Balmer