UN Official Says More People In Iran Must Be Held Accountable For Ukraine Airlines Crash

UN Official Says More People in Iran Must Be Held Accountable for Ukraine Airlines Crash

UNITED NATIONS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 24th February, 2021) UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard said on Tuesday that more individuals in Iran should be held accountable for the shooting down of Ukraine International Airline flight over Tehran last year.

Earlier in the day, Callamard said in a letter to the Iranian authorities that most likely only three individuals who were in the mobile missile unit nearby Tehran's civilian airport "are or were" in custody.

"I think the list of individuals is very large, indeed," Callamard said. "It cannot just be the three members of the crew on the ground that should be held accountable for what happened. Those were the least responsible, coming at the end of multiplication of failures."

Callamard pointed out that the first line of accountability lies with those who decided not to close the airspace given the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States at the time of the strike.

On January 3, 2020, the United States killed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) top commander Qasem Soleimani via a drone strike near Baghdad. The assassination was followed by Iran's retaliatory missile strikes on January 8 on two US bases in Iraq.

Callamard said that anticipating a US response, Iran's military moved anti-aircraft missile units around a sensitive military installation near Tehran's civilian airport.

Iran also established a communication system between civilian air traffic services and the military.

According to Callamard, the second line of accountability resides in those who set up what should have been a "bulletproof system" of communication. The system turned out to be either not put in place or inadequate to allow to determine that the targeted object was a civilian aircraft rather than a US missile.

Callamard further criticized Iran's decision not to disclose for three days the information that the Ukrainian Airlines flight had been shot down, calling it a "grave violation" to the right to life.

Additionally, Callamard said the "inappropriate" conduct of the investigation at the site of the crash, which was bulldozed and looted, violated basic standards and also requires the search for individual responsibilities.

The Ukraine International Airlines' Kiev-bound fight crashed after being shot down having taken off from Tehran on January 8, 2020. All 176 people aboard were killed, including nationals of Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Canada, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.