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The Framing of MH-17

PHILADELPHIA – US President Barack Obama called the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 an “outrage of unspeakable proportions,” whereas Russian President Vladimir Putin termed it an “accident” and a “terrible tragedy.” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko branded it an “act of terrorism,” and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called it an “inhumane, uncivilized, violent, and irresponsible act.”

All of these descriptions may be accurate, but each carries different rhetorical weight and legal implications. The time has come for governments and international organizations to call the attack on MH17 a probable war crime.