The default judgment comes as Iran insists the plane was shot down near Tehran in error in 2020 amid military tensions with the United States.
A Canadian court awarded $ 84 million (C $ 107 million) to the families of six victims who were killed when Iranian forces shot down a Ukraine International Airlines flight near Tehran in early 2020.
Mark Arnold, a victims lawyer, announced the ruling on Monday, vowing to go after Iranian assets in Canada and abroad to secure the judgment. Ontario Superior Court Judge Edward Belobaba rendered his decision in a default judgment on December 31.
Iranian forces shot down flight PS752 after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on January 8, 2020, killing all 176 people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.
The Iranian government blamed the incident on “human error”, saying the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” in a “disastrous mistake”.
Hours before the flight was shot down, the Iranian military fired missiles at US forces in Iraq in retaliation for the murder of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a US strike ordered by then President Donald Trump .
After the crash, the countries of the victims – Canada, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Afghanistan – came together to demand answers and responsibilities under the banner of the International Coordination and Action Group. intervention.
But last month the group expressed frustration with Iran, accusing Tehran of “showing no interest in meeting its international legal obligations.”
The group has set a January 5 deadline for the Iranians to “confirm whether they are prepared to enter into negotiations with the coordination group, after which we will have to assume that further attempts to negotiate reparations with Iran are unsuccessful.” “.
In May, a Canadian court issued a default ruling accusing Iran of intentionally downing the plane in what it called an “act of terrorism,” prompting an angry reaction from Tehran, which called the court’s decision of “shameful”.
“Everyone knows that the Canadian court is fundamentally not qualified to judge this aviation accident or this potential negligence in an incident which is outside the territory and the jurisdiction of Canada”, then declared the Iranian ministry Foreign Affairs.
At the end of 2020, the Iranian government announced that it would allocate $ 150,000 to each of the families of the victims.
Governments are generally protected from civil lawsuits abroad, but a 2012 Canadian law restricted countries’ legal immunity to its “foreign terrorist states,” including Iran.
Last week’s judgment risks escalating tensions between Canada and Iran.
Canada closed its embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats from Ottawa in 2012, describing Iran as “the most significant threat to world peace and security.” Iran responded by calling the government of then Prime Minister Stephen Harper “extremist.”
Iran has accused Canada of politicizing the response to the flight PS752 crash.
“Canadian officials had the most unwarranted interventions from day one and tried to prevent the natural path of this issue from being clarified,” a spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in December 2020.