Ukraine International Airlines airplane
Ukraine International Airlines airplaneiStock

An Ontario court has awarded more than $107 million to families of six victims of the Iranian military's downing of a passenger jet two years ago, The Canadian Press reported.

The decision, which was made public on Monday, follows a May ruling that the missile strikes amounted to an intentional act of terrorism, paving the way for relatives of those killed to seek compensation from Iran.

In the 2021 decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba found on a balance of probabilities that the missiles that shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on January 8, 2020, were fired deliberately at a time when there was no armed conflict in the area.

While the State Immunity Act protects foreign states from legal claims, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act provides an exception in cases where the losses are caused by terrorist activity.

The January 2020 crash came shortly after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house US forces in retaliation for the US eliminating top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Iran initially denied having anything to do with the crash, but US officials said early on that the plane had been shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran later admitted that it had made a mistake and shot the Ukrainian plane after it flew too close to a sensitive military site and failed to respond to signals.

Victims aboard the Ukrainian plane included citizens of Canada, Sweden, the U.K, Afghanistan and Ukraine. Out of 176 on board, 57 were Canadians. Many of the passengers were scheduled to catch a connecting flight to Toronto.

Iran's civil aviation authority has blamed “human error” as the reason for the downing of the plane, a report which was dismissed by Canadian authorities.

"This court well understands that damage awards are a poor substitute for the lives that were lost," Belobaba said in the latest ruling, dated December 31. "But a monetary award is the only remedy that a civil court can provide."

Belobaba awarded $7 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages, plus interest, to the family members who went to court.

It was not immediately clear how the money might be collected from Iran.