Canada is among four countries turning to international law to ensure Iran is held accountable for shooting down Flight PS752 more than three years ago.
The group of nations — which also includes Britain, Sweden and Ukraine — called on Iran six months ago to agree to binding arbitration through a United Nations convention designed to protect commercial aircraft from attack.
The group says since Iran did not agree to the demand, the matter is being referred to the International Court of Justice as soon as possible.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down the Ukrainian Airlines flight just minutes after takeoff on Jan. 8, 2020, killing all 176 people on board.
The passengers included 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents, along with others with ties to Canada.
The call for binding arbitration followed years of unsuccessful negotiations with the Iranian government in terms of reparations and holding those responsible to account.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly planned to meet with the families of victims of PS752 on Thursday to provide them with an update on the next steps.
“These families deserve transparency, accountability and justice and we will not relent in our efforts to seek it through international law,” Joly said in a statement. “Impunity is not an option for the Iranian regime.”
Kourosh Doustshenas, whose fiancée died when the plane was shot down, welcomed the referral to the international court as a step forward.
Despite Iran’s unwillingness to engage in arbitration, the next process will unfold “whether they like it or not,” said Doustshenas, a spokesperson for the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims.