On July 3, the Ontario Court upholds the $ 1.7 B judgment against Iran, ruling in favor of American victims of terrorism.
This ruling is a major victory for the victims of terrorism and it holds Iran accountable for its support of Hamas and Hezbollah during terror campaigns from the 1980s through 2002. The court rejected the state’s immunity and accused Tehran of trying to derail Canada’s justice for victims of terrorism act. They said that the very fact that a foreign government would engage in the sponsorship of such atrocities as the acts of Hezbollah and Hamas is chilling. To use peaceful legislative means to combat terrorism is entirely consistent with Canadian legal morals.
The list of terrorist activity is long: in 1983 Hezbollah killed 241 American servicemen, in 1984 Hezbollah killed 14 people, various kidnappings in the 1980’s one ended in a hanging and others were tortured. Three bombings in the 1990’s by terrorist organizationsfunded by Iran took place in Israel, Saudi Arabia and in Argentina. In 2002 Hamas bombed a university in Jerusalem killing Marla Bennet, a 24-year-old student from California. The terror victims won their various cases to the sum of $1.7 billion but the Iranian assets in the US are limited.
In 2012 Canada ratified Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorist Act (JVTA)which allowed victims of terrorism to sue terrorists and foreign states for damages. It is that act that makes it possible for US victims to seek Iran’s money in Canada. Iran argued that it was immune from prosecution in Canada, that the damage awards from the US far exceeded what is allowable in Canada, and the judgment violates international law.
The Canadian Court did not recognize Iran as immune and the properties that are not the embassy or the ambassador's residence is awardable for the victims. Among the assets sought is a one-storey, a backsplit house converted into offices at 290 Sheppard Ave. W. Toronto, an industrial building at 2 Robinson Ave.in Ottawa and two bank accounts.
Iran only reached immunity for act’s prior to Jan 1. 1985 when Canada’s state immunity Act was passed. That removes three victims of the earlier attacks from accessing Iranian funds in Canada but makes no difference to the total amount sought in Canada.
This ruling is a major victory for anyone who does not approve of the Iranian regime’s policy in the Middle East, it is about time they pay for their evil deeds. This ruling is paving the way for other victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism to be able to seek justice.