Last June, the Ontario court ordered Iran to hand over millions of dollars of non diplomatic assets in Canada, to the victims of terrorist acts from Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which are funded and armed by Iran.
Until the victims finally won the judgement, Iran ignored the legal procedure. It then tried to throw out the judgement, claiming state and diplomatic immunity. But Superior Court Judge Glenn Hainey ruled against Iran in awarding costs. “I see no reason to deprive the plaintiffs of their entitlement to costs of successfully defending these motions,” he wrote.
Now, Justice Hainey has ruled that Iran must pay the $300,000 legal bills of the victims, who had sought the compensation in the Ontario court under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (JVTA) and is dismissing the Islamic Republic’s claim to immunity.
In deciding whether the fees were reasonable, Judge Hainey said, included the fact that the victims were claiming $1.7 billion dollars. The case also involved “complex and important issues that had not been previously decided.” The ruling took place February eighth. Iran has 30 days to pay.
The JVTA was passed five years ago after an eight year campaign by Canadian terror victims. It allows victims of terrorism to sue foreign governments listed as state sponsors of terrorism. The legislation had multiparty support, including senior Liberal MP’s.
Torontonian Danny Eisen, co founder of C-CAT, Coalition Against Terror led the campaign for the passage of the JVTA act by Parliament. C-CAT is comprised of Canadian terror victims, counter -terrorism experts, lawyers and others assisting the victims.
“Terrorism is one of the world’s greatest threats,” Justice Hainey said then. “The broad issue before the court is whether Iran is entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts for its support of terrorism.”
Millions of dollars of Iranian assets are frozen. Iran is fighting angry and wants to be removed from the terror list. “Deleting Iran (from Canada’s terror list) would be tantamount to a Canadian declaration it is no longer a state sponsor of terror,” Mr. Eisen wrote in a letter to the National Post. “This would only confer legitimacy on a murderous theocracy that pours billions of dollars into terrorist activity.”
The Conservative government severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during his election campaign, he would restore ties with the country.
Iran has indicated it wants the Liberal government to overturn the Ontario court ruling and that it would be a pre-condition to again establishing diplomatic ties relation with Canada.
Doris is a multimedia journalist with many years of experience. She has worked in radio, television and print journalism and writes on a variety of topics, especially the crucial issues in Canadian and Jewish life.