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Ukraine, allies initiate proceedings against Iran over airplane downing

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 8, 2024 11:47 PM 2 min read
People attend a memorial service in Toronto, Canada on Jan. 8, 2023 as Iranian-Canadians marked 3rd anniversary of the downing of Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752. (Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Ukraine, Sweden, Canada, and the U.K. issued a joint statement on Jan. 8 announcing the initiation of dispute settlement proceedings with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over Iran's shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in 2020.

Flight 752 was a civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Kyiv that was hit by two missiles shortly after takeoff, with all 176 people on board being killed.

The victims included citizens of Iran, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, and the U.K.

Iranian officials initially denied any involvement in the incident but later claimed that an air defense unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard had mistaken the Boeing aircraft for a U.S. cruise missile.

The shooting down of the plane occurred just days after the U.S. assassinated Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, setting off heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S.

After Iran acknowledged responsibility for the downing of the plane, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said it was the result of "human error" and an "unforgivable mistake."

Ukraine, along with Sweden, Canada, and the U.K., also filed proceedings with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 2023.

Iran "failed to take all practicable measures to prevent the unlawful and intentional commission of an offense (the downing of the plane)" and also "failed to conduct an impartial, transparent, and fair criminal investigation and prosecution consistent with international law,” the press release read.

The joint statement on Jan. 8 reiterated the sentiment, saying, "For four years now, Iran has refused to take full legal responsibility for the downing of Flight PS752 despite our numerous attempts to engage in negotiations on this matter."

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