The United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, and Ukraine have jointly brought a case against Iran at the United Nation’s highest court.
The case revolves around the tragic downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet in 2020, resulting in the deaths of all 176 passengers and crew members onboard.
The countries appeal to the International Court of Justice to declare that Iran unlawfully shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane.
Additionally, they are seeking an official apology from Tehran and compensation for the families who lost their loved ones.
The ill-fated Flight PS752 was en route from Tehran to Kyiv on January 8, 2020, when it was tragically shot down shortly after takeoff.
The victims included individuals from Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, and Iran. The passengers’ ages ranged from 1 year to 74 years old.
Demanding Transparency and Accountability
In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the four nations expressed their unwavering commitment to transparency, justice, and accountability for the victims’ families.
They took this legal action after Iran failed to respond to a request for arbitration in December.
Iran initially denied involvement but later admitted that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian plane with two surface-to-air missiles.
Iranian authorities claimed that an air defense operator mistakenly identified the Boeing 737-800 as an American cruise missile.
A Contested Trial
An Iranian court sentenced an air defense commander, allegedly responsible for the downing, to 13 years in prison earlier this year, as the country’s official judiciary news outlet reported.
However, the countries initiating the case at the International Court of Justice described the trial as a “sham and opaque.”
According to the court filing published on Wednesday, the UK, Canada, Sweden, and Ukraine argue that Iran failed to take necessary measures to prevent the intentional commission of an offense.
They further claim that Iran did not conduct a fair and transparent criminal investigation and prosecution in line with international law.
The filing alleges that Iran withheld or destroyed evidence, shifted blame onto other countries and low-ranking Revolutionary Guard personnel, harassed the victims’ families seeking justice, and neglected to report relevant incident details to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Parallel Legal Proceedings
Interestingly, Iran filed a separate case against Canada last week about the downing.
Iran accused Canada of disregarding state immunity by allowing relatives of terrorism victims to seek reparations from the Islamic Republic.
The legal battle between countries is expected to shed light on the tragic event and determine accountability for the lives lost in the devastating incident.