The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), which is an executive body of the Civil Aviation and Airspace Use Council of several former Soviet countries, including Russia, has refused to conduct an international investigation into the airplane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin, citing the fact that the crash occurred within national borders and falls under their own aviation rules.
This decision aligns with the guidance provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which gives authority to local aviation bodies for probing such incidents.
The crash involved the Embraer Legacy 600 and took place north of Moscow last week, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, causing the death of Prigozhin, along with two high-ranking members of the Wagner Group, and four bodyguards.
Prigozhin died exactly two months after orchestrating a brief uprising against the Russian defense establishment. The attempted mutiny marked a significant challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s authority, arguably the most substantial one since he came into power in 1999.
To advance aviation safety, the Brazilian Center for the Study and Prevention of Aviation Accidents (CENIPA) and Embraer manufacturer announced their willingness to participate in a Russian-led investigation if invited, with the condition that the investigation adhered to international rules.
Marcelo Moreno, the Head of CENIPA, had pointed out that the IAC wasn’t required to invite foreign participation, but they would accept if asked. However, the IAC, according to reports from Reuters citing Brazilian sources, has declined to investigate in line with international standards.
The IAC believes it’s their responsibility to investigate using their own rules, since the crash occurred during a domestic flight.
However, concerns have arisen from critics and experts, including those from Western countries, who are worried that an investigation conducted solely by the IAC might be severely biased. The absence of Brazilian authorities from the process raises doubts about the inquiry’s credibility, especially due to suspicions involving Russian officials in the crash.
An unofficial theory suggesting an onboard explosion as the cause of the crash has gained traction.
Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee of Russia has launched a criminal case focusing on violations of air transport safety rules.
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