Countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner with 176 onboard called for binding arbitration to compensate victims, according to a statement from the Canadian government on Wednesday.
“We, Ministers representing Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, have taken concrete action today to ensure that our efforts to hold Iran to account for the unlawful downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (Flight PS752) can progress to the dispute settlement phase,” the statement said.
“In particular, we have requested that Iran submits to binding arbitration of the dispute related to the downing of Flight PS752 by 2 surface-to-air missiles launched unlawfully and intentionally by members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) air defence unit pursuant to Article 14 of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation of 1971.”
Iran downed the airliner on Jan. 9, 2020. There were 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents onboard, as well as a smattering of passengers from other countries.
Iran first denied any responsibility for the attack.
Later, Iranian officials claimed it was an accident, that the Revolutionary Guard believed the airliner was an incoming hostile missile fired at Iran in retaliation for earlier Iranian attacks on US military bases in Iraq.
The International Coordination and Response Group consisting of representatives from the various countries was formed shortly after the crash and pushed Iran to admit guilt.
Iran subsequently admitted fault and in December 2020, said it would pay US$150,000 (CAN$203,000) to families of the 176 victims.
But to date, no money has been forthcoming despite repeated chiding by the coordination response groups and promises from Iranian officials.
That failure to pay led to Wednesday’s call for binding arbitration.
“This action is part of our broader approach to ensuring there is transparency, justice and accountability (for) the victims and their families,” the release said.