Council of Europe sets up a Register of Damage for Ukraine

May 17,2023 726
Council of Europe sets up a Register of Damage for Ukraine

The Council of Europe announced Wednesday the establishment of a Register of Damage Caused by the Aggression of the Russian Federation Against Ukraine through an Enlarged Partial Agreement. The announcement was made on the second day of the CoE Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, as the first step towards an international compensation mechanism for victims of Russian aggression.

Forty countries and the European Union have joined the agreement, and three more indicated their intention to join.

“Support and solidarity with Ukraine are one of the main priorities of the Icelandic Presidency [of the CoE], and we have worked hard to ensure that the outcome of the Reykjavik Summit addresses the need for comprehensive accountability for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” said Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland. She emphasized that “the Council of Europe can and should play an important role in ensuring accountability. The Register is an important step towards accountability for crimes committed in Russia’s brutal war and a strong message of support to Ukraine.”

According to Marija Pejčinović Burić, CoE Secretary General, “the decision to set up the Register of Damage under the auspices of the Council of Europe is a historic decision.” “It will support victims in recording their losses and is vital for any compensation mechanism. Supported by a very large coalition of member and non-member states, and by the EU, it is one of the first legally binding decisions to hold Russia accountable for its acts,” she added.

The European Union, represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has substantially contributed to the startup costs. The Register will be set up in The Hague, the Netherlands, with a satellite office in Ukraine.

“Russia must be held accountable, including for damage suffered by Ukraine and its people. We are therefore proud that the seat of the Register of Damage will be in The Hague, the legal capital of the world,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The Register is established for an initial period of three years and will serve as a record of evidence and claims information on damage, loss or injury caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. It paves the way toward a future international comprehensive compensation mechanism for the victims of Russian aggression.

“Ukraine welcomes the establishment of the Register of Damage,” said Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. “We are grateful to the Council of Europe and all the participating states for such a high level of support. We invite other states from all corners of the world to join the Register of Damage as a sign of support for the important issue of Russia’s accountability for its war against Ukraine. The Register is an important milestone on the road to justice and reparations for Ukraine and the Ukrainians who have suffered so much from this war. The hard work begins now – we need to ensure that the Register becomes operational soon so that victims of Russian aggression could submit their claims. We also emphasize that the establishment of the Register is only the first step towards the establishment of a comprehensive compensation mechanism that will ensure that Russia pays full reparations to Ukraine in accordance with international law, including by means of its internationally located assets. We look forward to working with our partners on this important issue.”

The 40 countries that have joined the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Register include Albania, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. Andorra, Bulgaria and Switzerland have expressed their intention to join.