Ukraine has sent Iran a second request for international legal assistance, asking for access to the “black boxes” of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that was shot down in Iran, and for Ukrainian experts to be allowed to help decipher them. However, no response has been received, said Polina Chyzh, head of the Department of International Legal Cooperation and Asset Recovery at the Prosecutor General’s office, during a session of the Verkhovna Rada committee on national security and defense.
According to her, Iran claims that the black boxes were so badly damaged that they can only be opened under specific laboratory conditions in another country. Ukraine has offered the use of its laboratory at the Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
“On January 15, an expert was supposed to arrive, who would look at this laboratory and essentially give consent, return to Iran, fetch the black boxes and return to Ukraine in order to carry out this research together with our experts and the persons whom we consider necessary to involve,” Chyzh explained.
On January 14, however, it was learned that Iran would apparently not be handing over the black boxes, Chyzh noted.
“Currently this information can be neither confirmed nor denied, because we are contacting Iran’s representatives. They are now saying that their expert, as was promised, will not be coming today, on January 15, but this matter is being addressed. For this reason, we made a decision and drafted a second request to Iran for legal assistance, asking to be granted access to the black boxes and to address the issue of the possible deciphering of the black boxes by our experts. No response has been received yet,” said the representative of the prosecutor’s office.
According to her, in the request Ukraine has also asked Iran for access to items which could constitute evidence in the criminal proceedings, for example, aircraft parts, seats, etc.
On January 8, a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 crashed outside the Tehran airport. All 176 people on board were killed. At first, Iran claimed that the crash had been caused by technical issues with the aircraft. On January 11, however, the Iranian government admitted that their military had shot down the Ukrainian airliner by mistake.