Individual-1 was escorted off the bus, where uniformed Belarusian officers separately searched him again on the airport tarmac. ICAO rules have the protocol and you dont have much of a choice. CHURO, KAZYUCHITS, ANDREY ANATOLIEVICH LNU, and FNU LNU, all of Belarus, are charged with conspiring to commit aircraft piracy, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. The long-term impact of this incident is likely to be minimal. The real question since this has happened is: What happens in future?
What happened to Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend punctured that delusion, revealing that normsnot lawshave prevented even the mischievous countries above from forcing involuntary layovers rather than waiting for them to happen. One group of passengers from the Flight, including multiple U.S. nationals and Individual-2, was detained in a narrow hallway for approximately three hours at the airport. After the attack, the Egyptian government chartered an Egyptair 737 to ferry the hijackers to safety in Tunis. You wouldnt have specific training for an event like that, because Ive never heard of it happening before. Polite praised the outstanding efforts of a joint investigative team from the FBIs New York Field Office, Counterintelligence Division and the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of special agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD. March 6, 1996. Depending on the severity of the incident, there is likely to be an impact on consumer confidence especially if flying around the region surrounding Belarus, says Gardner. Attorneys David W. Denton, Jr. and Elinor L. Tarlow are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Jennifer Burke of the Counterterrorism Section and Jamie Perry and Christian Levesque of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. She servedfor several yearsas Assistant Chief Counsel for International Affairs andLegal Policy at theFederal Aviation Administration and was apartner at Hogan & Hartson,LLP, now HoganLovells. They just dont do that. This helped to ensure that the Flight would enter Belarusian airspace, and the plot to obtain and exercise control over the Flight could be executed. Hamass purported email specifically noted the intention to kill participants in the Delphi Economic Forum, a Davos-like public-policy event in Athens. ", , a prominent Belarus dissident and journalist, Secretary Buttigieg theres work to be done for ADA compliance, Toyota working with Embraer to increaseefficiency & eliminatewaste but SMS SAFETY must be 1st. The airport industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month. The Council expressed strong concern at the apparent forced diversion of Ryanair Flight FR4978, a commercial passenger aircraft flying in Belarus airspace on Sunday, 23 May 2021, tasked the ICAO Secretary General to conduct a fact finding investigation, and called upon all ICAO Member States and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate with this fact-finding investigation in the interests of ensuring the safety and security of civil aviation and offered the assistance and expertise of ICAO in the pursuit of this endeavour. Those stops can end badly nowand they surely would if any of those named above were stopped in the wrong country, even for innocent reasons.
FNU LNU remained on the tarmac supervising the security forces and monitoring the screening of the passengers as they disembarked. The MiG was but a friendly escort for the Ryanair crew and passengers, ready to blast out of the sky any migratory birds that might impede their descent. In response to the false information conveyed as part of the defendants plot, the pilots of the Flight ultimately declared an emergency and diverted to Minsk National Airport, in accordance with the directives from CHURO and FNU LNU. But often the difference is not one of aviation law. The scandal happens legally, in plain sight. Note: The Government of Israel disputed that that the action was intentional and claimed the pilot of the civil aircraft had ignored its instructions. They would have a system., Major airlines have a security department.
A pilot must ensure the safety of all passengers on board, and commercial airliners are not equipped with military-grade defences or advanced manoeuvrability.. republish of Post 2/17/2022 NOW??? This Office was one of the districts affected by the SolarWinds intrusion. If they told you that there was something like [flight FR4978], would you believe them or not?, intercepted by a military aircraft is rare, . Your training would be to take air traffic control very seriously, because their job is to look after you, not play games with you, says Tozer. The ICAO Council President called an urgent meeting of the 36 diplomatic representatives on May 27, 2021, to consider the incident. The aircraft was just moments from leaving Belarus air space when the pilot was told by Belarus air traffic control that a bomb was on board and to divert to Minsk, the capitol of Belarus. In addition, CHURO and FNU LNU took the telling steps of directing that the Flight be diverted specifically to Minsk, and even though the Flight was still in the adjacent airspace of Ukraine, prohibiting the Minsk air traffic control center from making any notification to Ukrainian authorities of the purported bomb threat. November 1988. CHURO and FNU LNU conveyed the purported bomb threat to the controllers on duty, even though the Flight had not yet departed Athens. Receive our 2 daily articles (recommended! Not only is what took place a reckless violation of U.S. law, its extremely dangerous to the safety of everyone who flies in an airplane. Belarus air traffic control that a bomb was on board and to divert to Minsk, until its next session, in January 2022,, ICAO Council met to consider the report and formally consider any further actions to be taken by ICAO as a result of the reports findings., US ICAO Representative found sufficient information, exercise its responsibility to protect international civil aviatio, on "Belarus Forced Diversion of Ryanair Flight 4978 Are We Still Outraged?
The preliminary report, available online through a media source but not yet published by ICAO, indicates the pilot of the aircraft was told lies by Belarus ATC, which also withheld information and failed to communicate with Ryanair despite the pilots requests and avoided contact efforts by Vilnius ground control the destination airport. These could include former U.S. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: Since the dawn of powered flight, countries around the world have cooperated to keep passenger airplanes safe. Here the comparison is a little closer to the Ryanair case: Egyptair is a civilian airline like any other. ), A more dramatic event involved the Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship, murdered an elderly American Jew, and dumped his corpse into the sea in 1985. The success of this shameful gambit without ICAOs urgent, clear, formal denunciation to date is an invitation for repeated occurrences. Thats the first time Ive heard air traffic control actually interfering with a flight. The passport-check scenario, minus the email, could already happen. JDA Journal is a forum for JDA Aviation staff and Associates to post their insights on aviation Safety. * * *. The problem now is if a credible threat did come up. Ambassador Michael McFaul, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, or the Putin critic Bill Browder, should they be foolish enough to fly from (say) New York to Delhi, or Los Angeles to Singapore, without making sure their flight path doesnt cross Siberia or graze the Russian Far East. Assistant U.S. On May 23, Ryanair flight FR4978 was travelling from Athens to Vilnius Airport in Lithuania. FNU LNU remained in the operations room at the Minsk air traffic control center from the time that he and CHURO conveyed the purported bomb threat and directed that the Flight divert to Minsk, until shortly before the Flight landed in Minsk after being diverted, in order to ensure that the diversion plot was successfully executed. But Belarus got its man. They have people who assess the threats, and there would be threat levels. However, the events have reaffirmed to passengers the importance of understanding who they are flying with and the route the aircraft will take. During the course of our investigation, the FBI identified a detailed operation that subjected passengers from many countries, including the U.S., to the realities of terroristic threats. The defendants shattered those standards by diverting an airplane to further the improper purpose of repressing dissent and free speech. But to suggest this means that voice is futile when civil aviation is attacked is to give up, and that we cannot do. (After a Snowden check came back negative, Morales was allowed to proceed. If the intent is hostile or perceived to be that there is no choice, says Suren Ratwatte, qualified pilot and ex-CEO of Sri Lankan Airlines. Lets just say there was a dispute between the country your aircraft is registered in and the country youre flying over. If the MiG had fired its weapons against the Ryanair flight, that would have been unlawful, irrespective of whether they hit or missed, Byerly said. Secretary Generals investigation report presented to the Council, which directs the ANC to study it. This was ratified by 185 nations in 1969 and gave pilots the ability to take action in certain circumstances., Examples of actions pilots can take include the ASSIST principle acknowledge, separate, silence, inform, support, time. Whatever revenue tiny Belarus expected to get from overflight fees will drop, as carriers prefer to skirt its border. He told me that Belaruss main legal obligations come from the 1944 agreement known as the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. Click here for information on the investigation into the Mount Vernon Police Department. (Tickets were only 19.99 euros, if bought far enough in advance.). If passengers believed a flight might enter airspace of concern, then they are likely to think twice about booking or proceeding with their flight. Additional Belarusian security officers met Individual-1 and the officers accompanying him, escorted Individual-1 away from the remaining passengers, and detained Individual-1. The United States looks forward to working with our foreign partners to bring them to justice. Russia, China, or Iran could just wait for a McFaul, a Guo Wengui, or a Salman Rushdie to pop up, then click send on a hastily written bullshit email from the Asian Dawn Movement, the New Provo Front, or some other terrorist group of their choice. We explore what procedures are in place to deal with such incidents. CHURO personally communicated the false bomb threat to staff at the Minsk air traffic control center before the Flight even took off from Athens, and directed the Minsk air traffic control center to instruct the Flight to divert to Minsk in response to the purported threat. The Red Sea Airport: designing a new luxury airport in Saudi Arabia. The Belarus ruse leaves little doubt that President Vladimir Putin could effortlessly concoct an excuse to ground a plane carrying the Americans he considers enemies. We would posit that the length of time between the event and the ICAO Councils determination after an investigation report now is breaking with the past, and its muted statements and insufficient transparency and delays between them are unusual. The International Civil Aviation Organization is currently investigating the incident to determine exactly what happened., Nevertheless, what happened on FR4978 was a reminder that despite all the increased safety procedures for air travel since 9/11, airliners remain vulnerable to outside interference while in the air., The main priority of an aircraft crew is to ensure the safety of all the passengers on board. Belarus claims that Hamas emailed to inform Minsk National Airport that it intended to bomb a flight if the European Union did not abandon its support for Israel in its war in Gaza. This prosecution is being handled by the Offices National Security and International Narcotics Unit. July 18, 1988. On May 23, 2021, a Ryanair Boeing 737 with 171 passengers, including Roman Protasevich, a prominent Belarus dissident and journalist, took off from Athens, Greece for Vilnius, Lithuania. Lets just say there was a dispute between the country your aircraft is registered in and the country youre flying over.
Pilots have little option but to comply when approached by military aircraft mid-air. After several hours of delays, the flight was allowed to continue to its original destination., There were also reports that a Belarusian military jet was deployed to escort flight FR4978 to Minsk., Authorities in Belarus have disputed all these claims, with national air force chief, : There was no interception, no forced diversion from the state border or forced landing of the Ryanair plane., Examples of actions pilots can take include, acknowledge, separate, silence, inform, support, time. The Council expressed concern at the gaps and inconsistencies in information provided by Belarus, highlighted that the bomb threat was deliberately false and had endangered the safety of an aircraft in flight. It recalled that communicating false information which endangers the safety of an aircraft is an offence under the Montreal Convention, and in this connection, strongly condemned such practices, but without ascribing responsibility. But he was aboard a state aircraft, not a civil one, so the Chicago Convention did not apply, and Austria could demand that he land for any reason. There are lots of variables., A commercial airliner being intercepted by a military aircraft is rare. The captain of the Ryanair aircraft made the decision to land at Minsk National Airport on his own, she said. Belarusian officers then escorted Individual-1 back onto the bus and traveled with Individual-1 and the rest of the passengers to the airport terminal. ICAO Council adopts a resolution strongly deploring the shooting down of the aircraft and directs the secretary general of ICAO to conduct an investigation. Shooting down of Libyan civil aircraft, on a scheduled flight from Benghazi to Cairo, by Israeli military aircraft. During that time, Belarusian authorities also escorted Individual-2 away from the other passengers and detained Individual-2. The US ICAO Representative found sufficient information in the report for the Council to exercise its responsibility to protect international civil aviation by taking a decision today that will condemn theunlawful interference with international civil aviation identified in the report andhighlight the inconsistencies in the account given by the Belarusian authorities.. ICAOs lack of urgency is playing into the hands of national leaders inured to consequences for their actions that threaten global order. The United States intercepted the 737 over the Mediterranean Sea and threatened to shoot it down if it did not land at a NATO base in Sicily.
During her tenure at the FAA, she served as a member of US delegations to ICAO meetings on the Korean Air Lines and Iran Air shootdowns. From the skippers point of view, an actual intercept by fighters is pretty straightforward. Ryanairs CEO called the incident state-sponsored hijacking. It was not. It would simplify their work, he said. The long-term impact of this incident is likely to be minimal. However, according to Gus Gardner, GlobalData associate travel and tourism analyst, the incident is not expected to affect consumer confidence in the long term.
The defendants remain at large. Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.
The Belarusian government conspiracy to divert the Flight was executed by, among others, officers of the Belarusian state security services working in coordination with senior officials of the Belarusian state air navigation authority. And other countries will wonder whether they can pull off a similar stuntand maybe not only with their own exiled citizens. On the day the flight was diverted, May 23, 2021, at approximately 6:45 UTC, CHURO and FNU LNU arrived at an operations room of the Minsk area air traffic control center with responsibility for Belarusian airspace. ICAO is the venue to which we return to recommit that international civil aviation safety is sacrosanct, its abuse a threat to global security, and, unlike the UN Security Council, this venue has no veto to derail the proceedings. But the Ryanair incident was nevertheless diabolicaland what makes it particularly diabolical is that Belarus may have managed to pull it off without violating its agreements under international law. At all times relevant to the indictment, CHURO was the Director General of Belaeronavigatsia, the Belarusian state air navigation authority.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the indictment and the description of the indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation. The Collective Responsibility to Protect the International Aviation System Redux. February 28, 1973. He said that request would be unreasonable and abusivebut emphatically not contrary to the text of Chicago. ICAO Council adopts a resolution deeply deploring the action, calling for a fact-finding investigation, and urging all parties to cooperate. But what came out of this meeting? FAA proposes a CO2 metric for a greener aviation. Flight FR4978 interception: whats the threat response? The Chicago Convention does limit the means Belarus could use to force a landing. ICAO rules have the protocol and you dont have much of a choice. That is why the European Union and others are scrambling: They have to find a punishment suitable for a country that has twisted the rules but may not have broken them. March 5, 1973. The top stories of the day delivered to you every weekday. Giving back to the community through a variety of venues & initiatives. Failure to comply could see the airliner shot down as a last resort., There are also transponder codes for numerous other incidents such as mechanical emergencies or a communications outage., Training can prepare pilots for many scenarios they may one day experience in the air. Protasevich and his companion remain held against their will under apparent extreme duress. Could they force a flight to land because the Belarussian minister of transportation found out Justin Bieber was a passenger, and wanted his autograph? I asked Byerly. The purpose of the Belarusian governments plot diverting the Flight to Minsk was so that Belarusian security services could arrest a Belarusian journalist and political activist (Individual-1)who was critical of the Belarusian government, living in exile in Lithuania, and wanted by the Belarusian government on allegations of fomenting mass unrestas well as Individual-1s girlfriend (Individual-2). (Think of the famous Marge vs. the Monorail episode of The Simpsons, in which the villains getaway flight to Tahiti stops unexpectedly in a town he defrauded before Springfield, and angry locals raid the plane.) Belavia, the Belarussian airline, is losing its permit to fly to Europe. We can only hope that the epilogue to this investigation concludes quickly, and the ICAO Council and Assembly make forceful and pointed rebukes, calling out those responsible for the international outcast they should be. If it is transmitted, the affected aircraft will be tracked closely by air traffic control. Soon after the diversion of the Flight, Belarusian government officials began to cover up what had happened. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. The safety of the passengers and aircraft is paramount, so pretty much anyone will comply.. One St. Andrews Plaza - New York, NY 10007, Senior Belarusian Officials Conspired to Use a False Bomb Threat to Unlawfully Divert a Passenger Flight Carrying American Citizens in Order to Arrest Belarusian Dissident, Human Trafficking & Child Sexual Exploitation, Department of Justice Harassment Prevention Resource, Download u.s._v._leonid_mikalaevich_churo_et_al_indictment.pdf. June 20, 1996. We recommend you to land. I was one of the speakers. The ICAO Council in the past has claimed ICAO consistently reacts especially quickly to rapidly unfolding events when called upon to do so. December 13, 1983. We recommend you to land. A Belarussian MiG fighter jet showed up on Ryanairs wing to emphasize the recommendation. Even in the absence of such developments, however, the world has changed in disturbing ways. The Flight was ultimately allowed to depart from Minsk and continue to its original destination of Vilnius later that evening. Some world leaders expressed outrage. In response to an early September 2021 media query, ICAO reportedly said The ICAO Council has agreed to defer its consideration of the Ryanair Flight FR4978 investigation report until its next session, in January 2022, citing the volume of data submitted and additional state clarifications still being required., On January 17, 2022, ICAO announced that the fact-finding report had been released to ICAO members. But because the fighter jet did not firenot even a warning shot, like the ones that went unheeded before the Korean airliner was brought downBelarus could argue that it exercised its rights of sovereignty and abided by Article 3bis. Polite Jr. of the Justice Departments Criminal Division, Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) New York Office, and Commissioner Keechant Sewell of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the filing of a one-count indictment charging LEONID MIKALAEVICH CHURO, the Director General of Belaeronavigatsia Republican Unitary Air Navigation Services Enterprise (Belaeronavigatsia), the Belarusian state air navigation authority; OLEG KAZYUCHITS, the Deputy Director General of Belaeronavigatsia; and two officers of the Belarusian state security services, ANDREY ANATOLIEVICH LNU and FNU LNU, with conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy for engineering the diversion of Ryanair Flight 4978 (the Flight)which was carrying four U.S. nationals and more than 100 other passengers on boardwhile it was in flight over Belarus on May 23, 2021, for the purpose of arresting a dissident Belarusian journalist who was on board the Flight. The Secretary General presents its report to the Council. Secretary Generals investigation report presented to the Council and referred to the Air Navigation Commission to study. The controllers advised the captain that his plane might be carrying a bombbut they then left him the option of landing, according to their advice, or continuing to fly and taking his chance with a plane that might explode at any moment. Shooting down of Korean civil aircraft on scheduled flight from NYC to Seoul via Anchorage by USSR military aircraft. Russia is a big country, and many flights pass through its airspace. We would argue that this case carries with it the same or more urgency than the shootdown cases because the target of this incident is alive and waiting for justice. Of course the bomb threat was a trick. On January 31, 2022, the ICAO Council met to consider the report and formally consider any further actions to be taken by ICAO as a result of the reports findings.. In the future, if the Belarus ruse is allowed to stand, the experience will come to resemble taking a train, with all the terrestrial legal risk that entails. Pilots have little option but to comply when approached by military aircraft mid-air. The Council again expresses its deep regret for the loss of life and reaffirms the fundamental principle of general international law that States must refrain from resorting to the use of weapons against civil aircraft. How does ICAOs reaction in this case compare to the handful of previous events the ICAO Council in its history has been called upon to investigate? Mr. Williams, Mr. Olsen, and Mr. September 17, 1983. (Russia, Belaruss ally and patron, has responded by barring European flights that avoid Belarus.). There was, in fact, no bomb on board the aircraft. As important is Belarus use of a false bomb threat to turn the international aviation safety system against itself to repress political opposition. Russian and Belarussian authorities stress that the United States has forced down planes too. But flying induces a kind of hypnosis, a delusion of security. That was a civil aircraft, even though you or I could not have boarded it. They had a team of people who worked on this all the time, long before September 11., At the end of the day, the decision always comes down to the captain. We are committed to holding accountable these central participants in a shocking conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy that not only violated international norms and U.S. criminal law, but also potentially endangered the lives of four U.S. citizens and scores of other innocent passengers on board., FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: We allege the defendants carried out an elaborate scheme to fake a bomb scare which forced an airplane to make an emergency landing in their country so they could arrest a dissident journalist. The Daily Beast and Newlines noted another inconsistency: The bomb threat arrived 24 minutes after the Minsk control tower radioed to the Ryanair flight crew. playing into the hands of national leaders inured to consequences for their actions that threaten global order. The Flight was met by Belarusian security services personnel, including individuals dressed in camouflage military-style uniforms, some of whom were wearing ski masks and carrying visible firearms. They also thanked the FBI Legal Attach Offices in Riga, Latvia; Warsaw, Poland; Athens, Greece; Kiev, Ukraine; and London, England; the National Transportation Safety Board; the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justices National Security Division; the Office of International Affairs and the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the Department of Justices Criminal Division; Polands Internal Security Agency and the Mazowieckie Regional Prosecutors Office; and Lithuanian authorities for their assistance with this investigation. A pilot must ensure the safety of all passengers on board, and commercial airliners are not equipped with military-grade defences or advanced manoeuvrability., If the intent is hostile or perceived to be that there is no choice, says Suren Ratwatte, qualified pilot and ex-CEO of Sri Lankan Airlines. Once the Flight landed in Minsk, FNU LNU left the air traffic control operations room and went to the airport tarmac. Calling in a fake bomb threat may not even be illegal, unless doing so endangers the aircraft. n aircraft by a military jet is a rare occurrence, however, it can be rather distressing for those on board. Shooting down of Iranian civil aircraft on a scheduled flight from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas, by a surface to air missile fired from a US naval ship. Click here to report information on Amazon warehouses. Public Service Announcement on Sexual Assault in Public Housing. ), Receive only noteworthy articles (1-3/week), no conclusions by the International Civil Aviation Organization as to responsibility and violations of international law.