The son of a Queensland couple who died when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last week says justice will only be served when fighting in the region stops.
Paul Guard, whose parents Roger and Jill Guard were on the doomed flight, told ABC News Breakfast the only way to find justice for the victims was for both sides involved in the conflict to put their weapons down.
“I believe that the party responsible for the death of my parents, all those children on the plane, all of those people in the prime of their lives, is not just Vladimir Putin, it’s not just the Russian military, it’s not the Ukrainian government or the separatist rebels or even the person who pressed the button on the missile launcher – I believe it’s the conflict itself,” Mr Guard said.
“If the conflict wasn’t happening there, that plane would not have been shot down.
“As long as that conflict goes on, as long as people are dying every day, there will be no justice for my parents and I say to world leaders, I say to the Australian Government, if you want justice for the victims and the victims’ families, please find a way to stop that conflict.
“Do whatever you have to do to get those people with weapons who are killing each other and causing misery and inflicting just such unbelievable pain on the Ukrainian people and obviously these innocent people on the plane, get them to put down their weapons.
“Come to the table, talk about a peaceful solution. There has to be a political solution to this problem. I believe it is possible to find one.”
Pathologist Roger Guard and GP Jill Guard are among seven Queenslanders who died in the MH17 plane crash.
Dr Guard, 67, had been head of pathology at Toowoomba Hospital, west of Brisbane, and had been employed by Queensland Health for 44 years.
The couple had three children and two grandchildren.
The couple’s death left their close-knit community of Toowoomba devastated, with Toowoomba Hospital Foundation CEO Peter Rookas telling the ABC last week that the world had lost some “brilliant people”.
Mr Rookas said Dr Guard was a key member of the Toowoomba community and assisted in the aftermath of the 2011 floods.
“Roger was a key executive of the hospital arm in that regard and of course the tsunami, the inland tsunami of 2011 will never be forgotten,” he said.
“Roger worked tirelessly during that time providing every assistance he could and obviously before the inquiry.”