The Association of the Families of Flight PS752 Victims (the Association) welcomes the Government of Canada’s Forensic Examination and Assessment report on the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, released today. That report exposes the Iranian regime’s disregard for human life, failure to disclose the truth and pursue justice, and oppression of victims’ families. The Association welcomes Canada’s commitment in the report to pursuing the truth and justice, including to the International Court of Justice, and calls for the international community to hold the Islamic Republic fully accountable for what it believes to be the willful murder of their loved ones.
The Iranian regime had an obligation to transparently disclose the causes of the downing of Flight PS752 through a comprehensive report in cooperation with the affected countries. Iran had failed to meet that obligation.
Canada’s decision to conduct its own forensic examination and assessment was an important step. But it is not sufficient and cannot be the final summary of what transpired on January 8, 2020. The Report makes clear that the investigators lacked access to witnesses, fulsome evidence and sufficient information. The Government of Canada must continue its work to hold the culprits of this crime to account and bring justice to the victims, their families, and their loved ones. Even without access to much important information, the forensic examination report reveals Iran’s failure to investigate its shooting of Flight PS752 and its failure to comply with international law.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s own conclusions outlined in the report speak to the intentional obfuscation and lack of accountability, cooperation and transparency on the part of the Iranian regime, and the need to hold Iran to account at the highest levels:
“Iran’s official account of events is disingenuous, misleading and superficial and intentionally ignores key factors.”
“Iran must also account for the cover-up that followed the downing of flight PS752, including bulldozing the crash site before investigators arrived.”
“… Should negotiations with Iran not result in an acceptable outcome for Canada on behalf of the families, we will pursue all available options, including recourse to the International Court of Justice.”
Canada’s forensic report makes several key observations that clearly illustrate the crimes, obfuscations and lies of Iran. First, the report rejects the Islamic Regime’s claims of “human error” as not plausible, and finds senior officials of Iran culpable. The report finds that it is not plausible that the crime was committed by a low-level operator in the field who failed to perform his duties and misjudged the situation, without regular communications with central military commanders. The report highlights the likely involvement of higher-level military and other government officials in shooting Flight PS752. The report states that although the firing of the missiles may have been delegated to a lower ranking operator, “… it is very unlikely the SAM operator would have been authorized to launch missiles without approval from his command.”
The forensic report further emphasizes that there was “… no evidence that ‘jamming’ or electronic warfare were the cause”, contrary to statements made by Iran that the missile operators had lost contact with central commanders. UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnes Callamard, stated that: “The inconsistencies in the official explanations seem designed to create a maximum of confusion and a minimum of clarity. They seem contrived to mislead and bewilder.”
Importantly, the forensic report finds that the foundation of this crime lies with high-level strategic and national security decisions of Iran, likely made by the leader of the Islamic regime and the Supreme Council of National Security of Iran. They deliberately kept the civilian airspace open at a time of heightened military tension, and after launching an attack, possibly using PS752 passengers and other passengers on aircraft that departed earlier that morning as human shields. There are still numerous unanswered questions and facts suggesting that the downing of the civilian airliner PS752 was intentional. The onus is on Iran to transparently disclose all relevant information in order to show that the downing of PS752 was not intentional.
The revelations of Canada’s Forensic Report underscore what the Association and families have long known and further energize the families’ resolve in their fight for truth and justice. The Association’s Fact-Finding Committee intends to produce a report of its own findings and conclusions in the coming months and the Association will continue to seek an international platform that will hold the Iranian regime to account for their actions. The Association of the Families of Flight PS752 Victims requests that the Government of Canada to put forth a substantial monetary reward for any information that leads to identification and prosecution of those individuals responsible for the shooting of Flight PS752. The Association once more insists that the Government of Canada enlist the IRGC as a terrorist entity, impose targeted Magnitsky sanctions on the perpetrators of the downing, and pursue the PS752 file through a domestic criminal investigation.
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