Iran committed multiple human rights violations in shooting down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 and in the aftermath of the deadly attack, two UN experts said February 23.
"The inconsistencies in the official explanations seem designed to create a maximum of confusion and a minimum of clarity. They seem contrived to mislead and bewilder," Agnes Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in a 45-page official letter to Iran.
Read alsoPS752 downing: Iran may not reveal truth, secret recording suggests"As for the mistakes that have been admitted, they suggest at minimum a reckless disregard for standard procedures and for the principles of precaution, which should have been implemented to the fullest given the circumstances and the location of the missile unit in the proximity of a civilian airfield," the letter reads.
Finally, the official version of the incident pursued by Iran provides no answer to the question why it was precisely the Ukrainian plane that got shot among all other aircraft that took off that night.
"Absent an impartial, independent and comprehensive investigation, the families of the victims are left without the answers they deserve; left churning over and over in their minds how could this have happened; why was it that this particular flight was targeted while other flights on the same route in the same period escaped attack. Some may even wonder if that particular flight was targeted deliberately," experts say.
It is noted that, despite being initially aware of the fact that it was a military missile that brought down the plane, the government has failed to publicly acknowledge it for three days.
Read alsoPS752 downing: Iran refusing to name suspectsMoreover, the report adds, the Iranian Government has failed to meet its obligations of respect for the remains of the deceased, including by its disrespectful handling of the crash site, its efforts to obstruct family wishes to repatriate remains; by its interference with private burials. "All this is compounded by entirely unacceptable harassment and threats against some family members," the report reads.
PS752 downing in Iran: Background
On January 8, 2020, Kyiv-bound Boeing 737 passenger jet flight PS752, operated by Ukraine International Airlines, crashed in Iran shortly after takeoff from Tehran Airport.
All 176 people on board, including 11 Ukrainian nationals – nine crew and two passengers – were killed. Among victims are also citizens of Iran, Canada, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the UK.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted that the Ukrainian liner had been shot down as a result of an unintentional "human error," and promised to bring those responsible to justice.
On June 9, media reports said Iran had accused six persons in the PS752 downing case.
On July 20, the flight recorders were delivered to Paris and decrypted on July 21.
On July 24, it was reported that data from the black boxes had confirmed external interference with the aircraft's operation.
On October 23, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin said Iran would pay compensation to the relatives of victims of the UIA flight PS752 crash, but the process might last up to two years.
On December 9, however, Yenin said that Iran had withdrawn the offer to handle the payments to the families of those killed in the UIA plane crash.
In the middle of December, Canada expressed its position on the Iranian investigation into the downing of the Ukrainian plane, saying it is not credible.
On December 22, the Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that Iranian investigators, during a video conference, had provided representatives of other countries whose citizens were victims of the crash with a technical report on the UIA downing.
On December 23, Yenin said Ukraine had not received the report.
On December 24, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed concern that Iran was delaying the negotiation process on the case of the downed Ukraine International Airlines plane. He noted that Ukraine had not received a technical report from Iran on the plane downed almost a year ago.
On December 30, Iranian cabinet members reportedly agreed at a session to allocate US$150,000 or its equivalent in euros to each family of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash in January 2020.
On January 7, 2021, Rouhani said all those responsible for the downing of the plane would be brought to justice.
The Canadian government and security agencies are reviewing an audio recording in which a man – identified by sources as Iran's foreign affairs minister – discusses the possibility that the destruction of Flight PS752 was an intentional act.
On Iranian Military Prosecutor's Office has completed a pre-trial investigation into the incident, Iranian media reported February 21.