December 16, 2020— Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Special Advisor for Canada’s response to the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, released his report on Canada’s response.
The report is significant in a number of ways that bring Iran’s claims into serious question and demand Iran to be transparent about the truth. Mr. Goodale raises a multitude of questions that Iran must answer – questions that render Iran’s claims of human error being the cause of the downing effectively implausible. It also brings to light Iran’s suspect behaviour in the aftermath of the downing, including the hurried destruction of the crash site, withholding of the black boxes for half a year, intimidations of the victims’ families, and failure to provide any evidence for its claims in the four interim reports thus far. Furthermore, the report points to the obvious flaws in the current investigation process that have reduced the much needed technical investigations into an absurd self-investigation by the armed forces that shot down the aircraft.
Mr. Goodale’s report at the conclusion of his mandate is a good step forward and makes broad recommendations about addressing similar circumstances in the future. This report clearly identifies several truths about the downing of Flight PS752 and the intentions of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that deadly day. Despite Canada’s diplomatic efforts after 11 months, the report demonstrates the few facts about the PS752 downing that are available at this time, and highlights outstanding questions without a clear path for answering them. If negotiation is chosen as the path forward, it appears that before negotiations could even begin, they have reached a deadlock due to Iran’s non-compliance, lack of transparency and lack of commitment to international norms and regulations. Given Canada’s commitment to seeking justice and standing firm as a leading country in justice and human rights, we believe the government should act swiftly to take all available measures to compel Iran to disclose the truth.
The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims are requesting that the Government of Canada explain to the victims’ families and to Canadians today how they intend to move forward now that the report has been released. Mr. Goodale noted that “Canada will continue to pursue transparency, accountability and justice through all relevant international forums, including the United Nations, ICAO, [and] the International Court of Justice.” Canada must take this commitment and act on it now.
Our Association requests that the Government of Canada proceed with the following actions:
- The performance of the 36-member ICAO Council, which includes Canada, has been disappointing. Even with the flawed rules in place, ICAO has failed to hold Iran to account for its numerous breaches of ICAO’s rules. Canada must now take ownership of this issue at the ICAO Council, and lead the Council in taking decisive action against Iran’s systematic breaches of ICAO’s rules. We need the ICAO to uphold its rules, and also to finally condemn Iran for its disregard for human life.
- This report acknowledges that the investigations into aircraft downings must not be the responsibility of the perpetrators themselves. What does Canada plan to do to address this issue in the context of PS752?
- A single sentence of the report confirms that if Iran fails to answer the significant outstanding questions in its final report, Canada will escalate the file to all relevant international forums, including the International Court of Justice. Canada must stand firm on the right side of history, and it “must never be deterred.” Canada must disclose clear timelines and next steps for holding Iran accountable.
- Canada should use all tools at its disposal to put pressure on Iran to disclose all relevant information and cooperate with criminal investigations, including expanding sanctions through the Magnitsky Act and other mechanisms. We want Canada to work with its allies to punish those responsible for the crime with the options that are available to Canada.
Mr. Goodale’s report marks the opening of a major new chapter in what the Prime Minister called a Canadian Tragedy. The families are steadfast on the path to justice, and we call on the involved states to use all available options to demand accountability and justice.