Toronto marchers demand Canada to bring Iran to world tribunal over shot down
Hundreds of people marched in Toronto on Thursday to demand that the Canadian government continue Iran’s downing of the Ukrainian Airlines light PS752 in January 2020 with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and initiate a action before the International Court of Justice. The march and the gathering, from Queen’s Park in Toronto To Nathan Philips Square, was organized by the Association of Families of Victims of Flight PS752 (752AFV) and included members of the Canadian Parliament.
“Justice is not negotiable,” Hamed Esmaeilion, Canadian-based spokesperson for an association representing some of the families of Iranian victims of the disaster, said in a speech. “We request [the Canadian government] open a criminal investigation, end negotiations [with Iran] and to take the matter in hand with the ICAO… We will come back to this place after a few weeks with more people if our requests are not met. of the culprits “.
ICAO is a United Nations agency which adopts standards and protocols for air navigation and establishes protocols for accident investigation. It does not routinely conduct investigations itself and is not a judicial body. The International Court of Justice is the judicial organ of the United Nations which arbitrates in disputes between member states.
Canada had dozens of citizens and permanent residents aboard the downed Ukrainian flight when an Iranian air defense battery fired two missiles at the airliner after taking off from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran on January 8, 2020 , at a time of high military alert after Iran fired missiles at US bases in Iraq in retaliation for a US drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and nine others. The families of the victims condemn the Iranian government for failing to close the airspace at a time of military tension.
All 176 people on board Ukrainian flight PS752 have died. Iran initially denied shooting down the plane, then explained it as the result of misalignment of a mobile missile battery. Tehran’s offer of $ 150,000 in compensation was rejected by many relatives of the victims.
The march in Toronto coincided with the inauguration of President Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) in Tehran. In his speech, Esmaeilion accused Raisi of “direct involvement” in the plane crash. He also appointed – either for such involvement or for harassing the families of the victims – President Hassan Rouhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Commander of the Guardians of the Revolution (IRGC) Hossein Salami, Chief of Armed Forces Joint Staff Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Police Hossein Ashtari and Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi.
Esmaeilion also said those named concealed IRGC responsibility for downing the plane, although it was IRGC Air Force Commander Amir-Ali Hajizadeh who on January 11 gave a press conference apologizing and explaining how the plane was shot down.
Esmaeilion demanded that Canada sanction those he appointed. “Why are the names of Raisi, Shamkhani, Salami, Bagheri, Zarif and Khamenei not on the list of individuals sanctioned in Canada? Why are the IRGCs not on the list of terrorist organizations? [since the 1979 Revolution] enough crime and murder?
In a report for the Canadian government in December 2020, Ralph Goodale, an adviser to the Prime Minister, said engagement with Iran was “strained” due to the fact that Iran was identified by Canadian law “in as a state partisan of terrorism “and by” terrorism “listings” of “the Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and several other surrogates”.
In February 2020, some families of victims filed a class action lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and various branches of the Iranian military. The court ruled in May 2021 that the downing of flight PS752 was “an intentional act of terrorism”. This was a judgment by default, as Iran refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the Court in the matter and was not represented.