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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lawsuits from relatives of the victims have become part of the fight against terrorism


Relatives of victims on Board the Russian Jumbo jet exploded over the Sinai, has filed a lawsuit against the Egyptian authorities. We are talking about compensation of damage amounting to millions of dollars. It is emphasized that the practice of such claims is of great social importance: the ultimate goal is not profit, and prevent similar attacks in the future.

Recall that the crash occurred on 31 October 2015. The Airbus A321 for Russian companies “Kogalymavia” carried out a Charter flight 7K-9268 route Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg. 23 minutes after takeoff, controllers lost contact with the crew, and the ship disappeared from radar. After the discovery of the wreckage, the investigation revealed that on Board explosive device. Responsibility for the attack took on itself the Sinai branch of the terrorist group ISIL*. All aboard liner (224 people; of these, 25 children and 7 crew members) were killed.

“Sharm El-Sheikh escaped lawsuits because it owns the government, which in the face of his Prime Minister is already a defendant”

“The first days were like a dream. I didn’t believe that the plane crashed. When we were in the hotel, waiting for news, I heard that someone was still alive. I was hoping that at least someone really alive. Not even my mother, someone else, but alive,” recalls the terrible day of disaster, resident of St. Petersburg Elena. From Egypt on the ship was returned to her 60-year-old mother. The miracle did not happen. “It’s been 8 months since that day. But I have not lived and not experienced this loss. Can’t come to terms with it,” admitted Helen in conversation with the correspondent of the newspaper VIEW.

The lawsuit, filed by the Russians in the first instance court of Northern Cairo became the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, the Minister of civil aviation and head of the interior Ministry of Egypt. According to the laws of the Arab Republic, such claims are not submitted to the Agency, and to particular persons, and in them to the structures they represent. Sharm El-Sheikh escaped lawsuits because it owns the government, which in the face of his Prime Minister is already a defendant.

Before the accident fatal plane landed at the airport of Sharm El-Sheikh, where prior to passengers boarding, and the flight to Saint Petersburg was spent refueling, restocking and prep work. As highlighted in the statement of claim, the plane was held on the territory of the Arab Republic sufficient time to the authorities could conduct a normal flight for such maintenance, including loading and unloading aircraft. All these actions were carried out under responsibility of the Egyptian authorities, who exercised his powers and had full authority over the aircraft in accordance with the customs and laws governing this kind of work.” Thus, according to the lawyers of the plaintiffs, the Egyptian authorities “had to take precautions and vigilance necessary to ensure the protection and safety of the passengers, their personal belongings, baggage and the aircraft, especially given the fact that the law gives the Egyptian authorities the exclusive right to perform such actions.”

And because the Egyptian authorities – by their action or inaction, deliberately or not – did not take such precautions and security, they are obliged to pay compensation to all persons who have suffered harm.

The plaintiffs – the family of one of the victims (names not disclosed protection) require you to pay in the framework of the moral and material damage $ 3 million. The process of filing a lawsuit is associated with the legalization of documents, which takes a lot of time, so similar claims on behalf of other families will be issued after the beginning of the first trial

In the best case, the amount of compensation due to the fact that the lawsuit was filed in the interests of the imperfect daughter of the deceased passenger. The girl was dependent on her, accordingly, we are talking about compensation for the loss of a breadwinner. This amount includes moral damage, compensation for which is not legally restricted. The defense hopes that the Egyptian authorities will offer a settlement agreement, and the question of payments will be solved through negotiations.

David Kukhalashvili, a lawyer for relatives of those killed in the attack – already has experience of such litigation in foreign courts. In particular, he has represented injured parties in the case about the crash of the plane Airobus of S7 airlines in Irkutsk in 2006 and the case about the crash Boeing airline “Aeroflot-Nord” in Perm in 2008, “Then in Irkutsk for the first time crashed aircraft of foreign production – this has allowed us, in conjunction with a leading American law firm to go to court in new York,” he told the newspaper VIEW. – The Respondent was leasing the airline Airbus, the owner of the liner, and the airline S7. We were able to negotiate with the British reinsurance company on the peaceful settlement of sports, the relatives of the victims received several hundred thousand dollars”.

By the way, after Irkutsk tragedy, changes were made to the Air code of Russia, and now death in a plane crash entails an insurance payment in the amount of 2 million rubles. Prior to that, relatives of the victims could not get any decent compensation. In the case of a plane crash in Perm lawyers didn’t even need to appeal to foreign courts: under the settlement with foreign reinsurers relatives of the victims received several hundred thousand U.S. dollars (except for the Russian payments of 2 million, already approved by law).

“The crash of the plane of airline “Kogalymavia” is different from other aviation Affairs so that in this case the cause of the crash was a terrorist attack. And when the main reason is the attack, it limits the ability of lawyers”, – said the newspaper VIEW, head of the aviation practice of the law firm Girardi Keese, Kees Griffin, whose company, along with Egyptian lawyers, represents the interests of the relatives of the victims. According to him, if a technical failure, in addition to the airlines you can prosecute the manufacturer of the aircraft, and accessories, when you attack, the responsibility also lies with the authorities of the state in which territory there was a terrorist attack.

“Every state is obliged to provide security on its territory and the airspace of their own and foreign citizens. But when there is a terrorist attack, it means that the relevant structures of the state for negligence that led to the fact that we failed the attack to prevent,” emphasizes Griffin. Now, in many countries there are special laws which provide for fixed compensation for the victims of the terrorist attack. “In Egypt, unfortunately, no such law, so we decided to demand from the Egyptian authorities compensation for our clients in a General manner, on the basis of their civil law,” – says the lawyer. As an example, he cites the explosion on Board Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. Many years later, after the attack, the Libyan government paid millions in compensation to the relatives of the victims.

Usually, compensation is composed of compensation for moral and material damage. And the more the deceased earned, the more turns in pecuniary harm to his family members. “We are in the case of each of our client will have to prove the extent of the damage. If there is a corresponding material component, the amount could be a decent,” says Griffin.

In Russia the relatives of the victims did not have recourse to the courts. In accordance with Russian legislation, already mentioned above, the insurance company paid the families of victims on 2 million rubles. Even a million rubles paid Saint Petersburg. In addition, “Kogalymavia” now proposes to conclude the agreement and to cover moral damages in the sum of 600 thousand rubles. It is clear that no amount of money will not bring back the dead, and at some point the question arises – where is the line that separates the situation from trying to cash in on the family’s own tragedies.

As Griffin admits, referring to his experience, mostly relatives hire lawyers not because of the amounts. “For them it is very important that the guilty bear the financial responsibility. Our clients understand that only such methods can make in the future of the airline and the state relate to the safety issues more carefully,” he says. In this case we are talking about the global trend. At least in those countries where a huge claim payments are the norm, companies are very afraid to be in the position of defendant in the case, as this may even lead to the bankruptcy of the company. Much cheaper to keep your good reputation and hanged to pay attention to security issues.

* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”

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