On the second day of the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland and President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, and Denis Malyuska, Minister of Justice of Ukraine, have announced the establishment of the Register of Damage Caused by the Aggression of the Russian Federation Against Ukraine through an Enlarged Partial Agreement.
44 countries and the European Union have joined or indicated their intention to join the Register set up by the participants to the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe held in Reykjavik on 16-17 May 2023. (*)
“Support and solidarity with Ukraine is one of the main priorities of the Icelandic Presidency 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. She emphasised 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.”
Marija Pejčinović Burić said “the decision to set up the Register of Damage under the auspices of the Council of Europe is an historic decision”. She said “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.”
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 provided a substantial contribution towards the startup costs. The Register will have its seat in The Hague (the Netherlands), with a satellite office in Ukraine and Mark Rutte underlined that “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”. 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 towards a future international comprehensive compensation mechanism for the victims of the Russian aggression.
Denys Shmyhal said that “Ukraine welcomes the establishment of the Register of Damage. 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 emphasise 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.”
(*) Forty countries have joined the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Register set up within the Council of Europe : Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and United Kingdom; as well as Canada, Japan and the USA. The European Union has also joined, while four other countries (Andorra, Bulgaria, Mexico and Switzerland) have expressed their intention to join.