Ottawa has called Iran's downing of a Ukrainian airliner two years ago “a Canadian tragedy” and has called for justice, in a statement to Iran International.
Jason Kung, a spokesperson of Canada’s foreign ministry said that “The families, and the victims, are at the heart of our efforts in the pursuit of transparency, justice and accountability for this tragedy.”
He added, “the Government of Canada is outraged at this refusal to negotiate from the Islamic Republic of Iran. To us, this is a clear indication that Iran plans to continue to shirk its responsibilities, thereby challenging the international rule-based order and refusing to give the families and victims the justice they deserve. We will not stand for this affront to the memories of the 176 innocent victims.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard fired two missiles at Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 in the morning of January 8, 2020 minutes after it took off from Tehran, downing the plane and killing all 176 people aboard. The act took place hours after Iran had fired ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq and was expecting a possible military response, but it failed to close the civilian airspace.
Since the tragedy, Iran has refused an independent investigation and according to Ukraine and Canada that had dozens of citizens and permanent residents aboard, has not provided full and convincing answers to questions that can shed light as to what really happened.
“Canada remains committed to seeking answers and pursuing justice for this tragedy for the victims and their families. This includes working vigorously with our partners in the International Coordination and Response Group to hold Iran accountable…and ensuring that Iran makes full reparations for the harm caused to the victims, their grieving families and the affected states,” Kung told Iran International.
A Canadian court just recently awarded C$107 million ($84 million) to the families of six people who had sued Iran. More court cases are pending in Canada.
Iran has said it would pay $150,000 per victim to families, but many say what they really want is the truth of who is responsible for the tragedy. Tehran, meanwhile, has said that senior officials cannot be legally held responsible.
Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ukraine which are four countries with the greatest number of victims have formed the International Coordination and Response Group to support families of victims of flight PS752. They announced this week that seeing intransigence by Iran, they will pursue the case according to international law.
“Moving forward, the group will focus on subsequent actions to resolve this matter in accordance with international law. At this time, we cannot comment on the specifics of our legal strategy,” the Canadian official said.