The European Union is prepared to fund the creation of the international Register of Damage and ordering of premises for this institution in The Hague, informed Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice at an informal conference of the Council of Europe Ministers of Justice in Riga (Latvia) held under the Latvian presidency, as reported by Ukrinform.
“Together with the Council of Europe and other partners, we pledged to ensure meaningful processes for the payment of reparations for the damage that Russia caused to the people of Ukraine during the war. In this sense, I am happy to announce that the EU will participate in covering the necessary costs for the establishment of a Register of Damage, in particular in the ordering of relevant premises in The Hague and in the development of a digital platform,” Reynders said.
He stated that the EU was considering the creation of an international Register of Damage to be the first important step towards the creation of a future international instrument for the payment of financial compensation for Ukraine. The EU continues to consider a possibility of potential change and expansion of the EU status as a participant of this Register of Damage, he added.
The European Commissioner added that in view of the unprecedented scale of international support for Ukraine, the EU is making efforts to coordinate all international initiatives to bring the Russian Federation to justice.
Reinders also highlighted the important role of the Council of Europe in holding the Russian aggressor accountable for the crimes committed in Ukraine, and called the decisions made at the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik in May of this year “historic.” These decisions demonstrated the unity of Council of Europe member states in defending the organization’s core values, he said. The EU will continue to be a reliable partner for the Council of Europe in strengthening an open and free global rule of law, and it will fight for this as long as necessary.
The European Commissioner emphasized that within his own mandate, holding Russia accountable for crimes committed in Ukraine has been of “utmost priority” since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The EU has already taken several decisive steps in this direction.
This, in particular, includes creating the opportunity for the reliable gathering, preservation, and processing of evidence related to Russian crimes committed in Ukraine. The European Commission is working on this in collaboration with Eurojust and the prosecution authorities of member countries participating in the so-called Joint Investigation Team (JIT). These efforts aim to establish the International Centre for Prosecution of Aggression Crimes against Ukraine (ICPA), which will operate in cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In the view of the unprecedented scale of international support of Ukraine, the EU is taking steps to coordinate all international initiatives aimed at holding Russia accountable.
To achieve this goal, in March of this year, the EU, together with Ukraine, the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the Government of Denmark, established the “Dialogue Group”, which has now grown to include over 32 countries, regional and international institutions, including the Council of Europe.
The third priority for the European Commission is to continue supporting and providing the necessary tools for the criminal justice sector in Ukraine, ensuring its further development in line with European standards.
“Our joint responsibility is to ensure that the atrocities committed in Ukraine do not go unpunished… We must continue to provide support to Ukraine — military, humanitarian, and financial. We have two main goals: to ensure, likely in a new jurisdiction or tribunal, accountability for the crime of aggression, and secondly, to ensure that Russia pays for the damage caused by its aggression against Ukraine,” stated the European Commissioner. The EU is counting on effective support from the Council of Europe in this endeavour, according to Reynders.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, at the meeting in Reykjavik in May, the heads of state and government of the 46 member countries of the Council of Europe adopted decisions regarding the accountability of Russian invaders for crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine. Today in Riga, during an informal conference of Council of Europe justice ministers, European officials are discussing practical ways to implement these decisions.