Ukraine to Sue Iran in International Court of Justice

  • "If our efforts fail, we will be left with no option other than turning to international institutions," Yenin said.
  • Iran's deputy foreign minister has claimed that the Ukrainian side was "wasting time."
  • The CBC in Canada revealed a 91-minute recording from Iranian authorities.

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Yevhen Yenin has said that his country may, “sooner or later,” sue Iran in the International Court of Justice over the crash of a passenger plane. However, Yenin insisted Ukraine was committed to resolving the issue through “negotiations.”

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) was a scheduled international passenger flight from Tehran to Kiev operated by Ukraine International Airlines, or UIA. On 8 January 2020, the Boeing 737-800 operating the route was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, which attributed it to human error.

“If our efforts fail, we will be left with no option other than turning to international institutions,” he said.

“We have prepared ourselves to go to the International Court of Justice sooner or later and force the Iranian authorities to agree to a pre-trial agreement, and this will not be possible without proper evidence. The stronger the evidence, the better and faster the chances of reaching an agreement.”

According to Yenin, the country has provided Iran with at least four notes with a clear proposal to start negotiations as soon as possible. However, he said he had not received any official response from Iran.

Yenin added that the negotiation mechanism is based on information obtained from technical and criminal investigations, and the purpose of the talks is to force Iran not only to apologize, but also to guarantee that the attack will not be repeated. The incident will pay off in the future as well.

Iran’s Reaction

“Every country that does evil in the case of a Ukrainian plane crash will be to its own detriment,” Yenin said. The reason is that the way to do this is determined by international law. “It’s a specific issue, and anyone who wants to go beyond that will lose.”

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Mohsen Baharvand, said Iran had agreed to “good intentions” to move the plane’s black box to Ukraine, but Ukraine said it could not read the box, and the box should be transported to a third country.

Seven months after the incident, Iran has not sent black boxes to any country, and the latest comment states that the boxes will be sent to France on July 20. Baharvand has claimed that the Ukrainian side was “wasting time.”

Six countries whose nationals were on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 have repeatedly asked Iran to either enter into negotiations or deliver black boxes. None of these requests have been fulfilled by Iran so far.

While the Ukrainian foreign minister said he had sent four specific proposals to Iran, and that Iran had not responded, Baharvand said, “we were going to send the flight recorders to Ukraine, which they claimed could be deciphered there, but they wasted our time and did not enter into negotiations.” Baharvand added:

“Therefore, we have decided to make the necessary arrangements with the French Air Accident Investigation Bureau to transfer the black box, given the delay in Ukraine and the reluctance of the countries concerned to convene a meeting to determine the cause of the accident due to the Coronavirus.”

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) (‘Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution’ or Sepâh for short) is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, founded after the Iranian Revolution on 22 April 1979 by order of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Revolutionary Guards state that their role in protecting the Islamic system is preventing foreign interference as well as coups by the military or “deviant movements.”

“First of all, we did not hear this voice and we do not know where it came from,” Baharvand told an Iranian official who spoke to a survivor of the crash. Secondly, he said, someone may talk to one of the survivors of this tragedy and try to comfort him. To mention this as a fact is neither documented nor legally valid, Baharvand said.

What is certain, he says, is that Iran’s completed report now shows that human error was the cause of the accident. “If according to some media circles, we had deliberately interfered in our work, we should not have arrested six people now and prepared them for trial.”

Meanwhile, a report from the CBC in Canada revealed a 91-minute audio file from March 7, which contains dialogue of a family member of a victim of the crashed plane. According to the audio file, senior Iranian officials did not declare the country’s skies a no-fly zone on January 7 so that the IRGC’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq would not be revealed.

PS752, a Boeing-737, was hit by two IRGC air defense missiles on January 9, six minutes after taking off from the runway of Imam Khomeini Airport near Tehran. All 176 people on board were killed.

Three days after the incident, Iran admitted that it had “accidentally fired at a passenger plane.” Earlier, Iranian officials said in a statement that the plane had crashed. In the end, under international pressure, they confirmed the firing on the plane, citing “human error.”

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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