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Canada Families of PS752 victims could go after Ukraine airline or Iran in bid for compensation

15:05  13 january  2020
15:05  13 january  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

Canada's 'hearts are with the loved ones' of Canadians killed in Ukrainian plane crash in Iran

  Canada's 'hearts are with the loved ones' of Canadians killed in Ukrainian plane crash in Iran Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says he's been in contact with his Ukrainian counterparts after a Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed just minutes after takeoff from Iran's capital on Wednesday, killing everyone aboard, including reports of 63 Canadians. "Tragic news regarding Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. Our hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians," tweeted the minister Wednesday morning."I have been in touch with the government of Ukraine. We will continue to keep Canadians informed as the situation evolves.

Iran admits shooting down Ukrainian airliner 'unintentionally' – state TV. The vast majority of the crash victims were Iranians or Iranian -Canadians, however, and it came just weeks after Iran had denied for several days that missiles could have downed the aircraft and instead blamed a

Image caption Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has named victims of Wednesday's crash. A Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after take-off in Iran on Wednesday, killing all Ardalan Ebnoddin Hamidi, Niloofar Razzaghi and their teenage son Kamyar, a family of three from Vancouver

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 11 : People stage a demonstration for the victims of a plane crash in Iran and against the Iranian government in Vancouver, B.C., Canada on January 11, 2020. (Photo by Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)© Getty VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 11 : People stage a demonstration for the victims of a plane crash in Iran and against the Iranian government in Vancouver, B.C., Canada on January 11, 2020. (Photo by Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The family members of those killed on Flight PS752 are likely entitled to monetary compensation under international aviation law, lawyers say, but could also achieve it through a comprehensive settlement with the government of Iran.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down the Boeing 737-800 using surface-to-air missiles, Iranian leaders conceded on Saturday, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board. Fifty-seven of those who died were Canadian citizens, while dozens of others were travelling to Canada.

Montreal man who went to Iran to get married among plane crash victims

  Montreal man who went to Iran to get married among plane crash victims Siavash Ghafouri-Azar, who studied engineering at Concordia University, had returned to Iran to be married. He is among those dead after a plane crashed near Tehran, killing all 176 passengers and crew. Siavash Ghafouri-Azar studied engineering and completed his Master's at Concordia University.Ghafouri-Azar's uncle, Reza Ghafouri-Azar, said a family member from Iran called him to let him know that Ghafouri-Azar was on the plane."He's like my son," he told CBC News."He was a great guy. Very dedicated to life, to people, very very decent guy to be honest," he said."One of the best I've seen in my life.

The crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS 752 near Tehran airport came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq. Mr Prystaiko said nearly 50 Ukrainian investigators were already working in Iran , and there was "full co-operation" from Tehran.

The downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 occurred four hours after Iran fired ballistic missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq in retaliation for the Now Iran has to calculate its next steps. Already, countries have canceled flights to Iran while ratcheting up the pressure for a thorough and transparent

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday that he expects Iran to take full responsibility for the downing of the jetliner and indicated that he would press Iran to provide compensation on behalf of the people who lost their lives.

"A full and complete investigation must be conducted," Trudeau said. "Families are seeking justice and accountability and they deserve closure."

Lawyers say there are three main avenues for family members to achieve financial compensation: through civil action, through the International Court of Justice, or through international diplomacy.

Civil action

Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and David H Turpin, President of the University of Alberta, attend a memorial service at the University of Alberta for the victims of a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed in Iran, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada January 12, 2020.  REUTERS/Candace Elliott© Getty Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and David H Turpin, President of the University of Alberta, attend a memorial service at the University of Alberta for the victims of a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed in Iran, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada January 12, 2020. REUTERS/Candace Elliott

Vincent Genova, a Toronto lawyer who practices personal injury and aviation law, said the families of Canadian citizens and those with ties to Canada could most likely launch a civil action in a Canadian court against Ukraine International Airlines, the operator of Flight PS752.

So far, Iran is offering Canada only limited access to its crash probe

  So far, Iran is offering Canada only limited access to its crash probe Iran's civil aviation authority has said it's following international rules and will allow other countries to participate in its investigation of a plane crash that killed 63 Canadians. But the role Canada is being offered by Tehran amounts to the bare minimum required by the international convention.But the role Canada is being offered by Tehran amounts to the bare minimum required by the international legal convention on aviation accident investigations — and at this point does not include active participation in the probe into the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 on Wednesday, or access to information from the flight data recorder.

Families of plane crash victims could claim compensation . Authorities in Iran are struggling to contain public anger after they admitted on Saturday that the country’s Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of # PS 752 tragedy.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 left Tehran’s international airport at 6:12 a.m. and lost The military blamed human error. In a statement, it said Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 had Gatherings organized on social media to mourn the victims of the crash swiftly turned into angry

Genova said family members can make the case that the airliner was negligent and should have cancelled the flight due to the security situation in the region.

"I think most people are quite shocked that the plane was allowed to take off in what could have been a war zone and certainly a dangerous time given the the political climate in that region," said Genova.

Just hours before the flight took off, Iran had launched a missile attack against two military bases in Iraq housing U.S. and Canadian soldiers, in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Gen. Qassem Solemeini, who was head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force.

On Saturday, the Iranian military said it mistook the plane for a "hostile target" and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed "human error."

Whether or not a Canadian court has jurisdiction over a case like this depends on the passenger's ticket and flight itinerary, according to Joe Fiorante, a Vancouver lawyer who specializes aviation law.

Adding Iran's Guard Corps to terror list bad for Canada, says ex-Tehran envoy

  Adding Iran's Guard Corps to terror list bad for Canada, says ex-Tehran envoy Adding Iran's Guard Corps to terror list bad for Canada, says ex-Tehran envoyThe government's immediate priority should be to focus on supporting Canadian families, including repatriating remains of crash victims, and the work of Canadian investigators on the ground, said Dennis Horak, who was Canada's envoy to Iran when the two countries severed diplomatic relations in 2012.

Families of plane crash victims could claim compensation . Authorities in Iran are struggling to contain public anger after they admitted on Saturday that the country’s Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of # PS 752 tragedy.

President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded Saturday that Iran punish those responsible for the downing of a Ukrainian airliner , pay compensation and apologise. Also watch: Ukraine considering several possibilities behind Iran plane crash (Provided by Reuters). Victims ' memorial builds at Kyiv airport.

Fiorante said people travelling to Canada on a one-way ticket or returning to Canada on a round-trip ticket would be covered by the Montreal Convention, an international treaty to which Canada and Ukraine are signatories, but Iran is not.

Under the Convention, airlines are responsible for compensating victims' families in the case of an "accident," which is defined broadly and would include a missile strike, Fiorante said.

Families are entitled to provable damages up to an initial threshold of $232,000, without having to prove fault.

A woman sheds a tear during a memorial service at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario on January 12, 2020 for the victims of Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 which was shot down over Iran this past week. - A © Getty A woman sheds a tear during a memorial service at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario on January 12, 2020 for the victims of Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 which was shot down over Iran this past week. - A "furious" Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded January 11, 2020 that Iran provide Canada with "full clarity" on the shootdown near Tehran of a Ukrainian airliner that killed all 176 aboard, including dozens of Canadian citizens. Trudeau said he made the demand in a call with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who admitted earlier January 11, 2020 that the airliner was mistakenly shot down by Iranian missiles. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)

Compensation covers, at a minimum, things like funeral expenses and lost belongings, but can be expanded to include loss of future income and other damages related to the loss of a loved one.

Iran plane crash: What is the Montreal Convention, and how will victims be compensated?

  Iran plane crash: What is the Montreal Convention, and how will victims be compensated? As the investigation into the downing of a Ukrainian passenger aircraft continues, many questions remain unanswered, including how families of the 176 victims will be compensated.An international treaty known as the Montreal Convention governs the liability airlines have and sets rules for compensation if there disruptions or damages during a flight -- but it has not been put into force in all countries.

Any final amount would be determined in the court where the complaint is filed, Fiorante said.

"Unfortunately, like all other civil litigation that these cases can take years to resolve," Fiorante said. "There'll be some very complicated questions in this case as to whether Ukraine Airlines has a defence to the claim based on the events leading to the to the crash," he said.

International court

A second possible avenue of compensation for victims' families is through the International Court of Justice.

The government of Canada could bring a claim in that court against the government of Iran for reparations, Fiorante said.

In 1989, the Iranian government made such a claim against the United States for shooting down Iran Air Flight 655. That flight was on its way from Tehran to Dubai when two surface-to-air missiles launched from the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Vincennes brought it down over Iranian territorial waters.

All 290 people on board were killed.

The international court case dragged on for years, but eventually the U.S. government eventually agreed to pay $131 million in compensation to Iran and the families of the victims.

"The lawyers will want much more information about all of the circumstances pertaining to this crash but that is an avenue that is certainly open to the government of Canada," FIorante said.

Garneau says compensation for Flight PS752 victims' families is a 'priority'

  Garneau says compensation for Flight PS752 victims' families is a 'priority' Transport Minister Marc Garneau said today that pushing for compensation for the families of Canadians killed when Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down a week ago in Iran is a priority for the federal government. "One of the requirements from Canada's point of view, along with justice, is compensation. Compensation to be provided by those that stand guilty of playing a role in this tragic accident. But let's do the homework first," Garneau told a news conference in Ottawa this afternoon.

Diplomacy

Ultimately, the solution to the issue may be worked out through international diplomacy.

The Iranian government could come to an agreement with other governments involved, including Canada's, that would include compensation for the families of victims.

Genova, the Toronto lawyer, used the example of the Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988, killing 270 people.

The investigation into that crash found that a Libyan intelligence agent guilty of planning the attack and the U.N. imposed a series of sanctions on Libya.

Years later, the Libyan government accepted responsibility as part of a broader deal that saw international sanctions lifted.

"A lot of that came about because of geopolitical pressure," said Genova. "I think there will be similar actions against the Iranian government until they make good on their admission of fault."

There are already signs that things are moving in this way.

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne has up an international working group of countries whose citizens perished on the plane. Members include representatives from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada and Afghanistan. The purpose of the group is to coordinate a response and to share information about the investigation.

Members of the working group held a phone call yesterday where they all discussed the need for justice, including compensation for victims, according to a readout provided by Champagne's office.

Champagne, Iranian counterpart in rare meeting to discuss Flight PS752 downing .
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne is sitting down with his Iranian counterpart in a rare face-to-face meeting today, more than a week after a Ukrainian passenger flight carrying 176 people was shot down near Tehran. Champagne's meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is set to take place in Oman, according to Champagne's office.It comes a day after Canada and an international cohort laid out their demands for Iran, including an independent criminal investigation, after the Middle Eastern country admitted to accidentally shooting down the flight last week.

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