30 Jan 2020 15:05

Kyiv insists that black boxes from UIA flight downed in Iran should be decoded in Ukraine

KYIV. Jan 30 (Interfax) - Ukraine is ready to engage experts from Iran, France, and Canada to decode information from the flight recorders of the Ukrainian passenger jet which was downed near Tehran on January 8, but insists that the decoding process take place in Ukraine, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said in an interview with Interfax.

"The problem with the black boxes is not the absence of a reply; the real problem is that the reply changes several times a day. Various Iranian officials are providing various information, so we don't have any final understanding," Ryaboshapka said, commenting on Ukraine's chances of acquiring the black boxes from the downed plane.

"Our stance is unwavering: we want information from the black boxes to be decoded in Ukraine," he said.

As to whether France will get involved in the process, Ryaboshapka said, "We are ready, and the French are ready too. They have told us they will assign their decoding experts. We are ready to involve not only Iranian representatives, but also French and Canadian experts in this process."

In fact, two investigations are being conducted at the moment, Ryaboshapka said. One investigation is civilian and is being conducted within the framework of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, and the other investigation is based on criminal law. The results of the International Civil Aviation Organization inquiry may be added to the criminal proceeding. "On the whole, the criminal inquiry will continue on the basis of the civilian investigation, i.e., it could become a big and important part of the criminal inquiry," he said.

As to how the trial of the culprits behind the Boeing crash should be conducted, Ryaboshapka said, "There are different opinions. Considering that the incident happened in Iran, the latter should provide an efficient inquiry and trial. We should also carry out our own investigation."

The Boeing 737-800 of Ukraine International Airlines crashed in the vicinity of Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport soon after takeoff on January 8. None of the 167 passengers and nine crewmembers survived the crash. There were 11 citizens of Ukraine, 82 citizens of Iran, 73 of Canada, ten of Sweden, four of Afghanistan, three of Germany, and three of the UK onboard the plane.

Iranian authorities acknowledged on January 11, that the Boeing was downed by the Iranian military by mistake. Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Aerospace Forces Amir Ali Hajizadeh assumed full responsibility for the crash of the Ukrainian plane.