The Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs and President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, have made the following joint statement on the occasion of the visit of the President of the Committee of Ministers to Kyiv, Borodianka and Bucha:
“An international legal response to Russia’s unprovoked, unlawful, and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine is essential. Accountability needs to be ensured as a matter of urgency.
Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, crime of aggression, conflict-related sexual violence and other gross violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law undermine the very fabric of societies.
By holding perpetrators to account, a measure of justice is provided to the victims and the loved ones left behind. Impunity emboldens perpetrators, silences victims, and undermines prospects for peace and human rights. Impunity anywhere sends the wrong signal everywhere.
Ukraine’s efforts to hold Russia responsible, despite the challenging circumstances, should serve as an inspiration. We commend and support the courageous work of Ukrainian prosecutors and law enforcement authorities to document and investigate international crimes in cooperation with the international community. We also welcome efforts to prosecute all alleged perpetrators on the territory of Ukraine.
Ultimately, accountability for the crime of aggression needs to be ensured through the establishment of a special tribunal for this purpose. Ukraine and Iceland will continue to work together, bilaterally and within the Core Group, with the aim of establishing a special tribunal.
The establishment of the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA) in The Hague with the objective to coordinate investigation of the crime of aggression against Ukraine, preserve and store evidence for future trials, this Centre being linked to the existing Joint Investigation Team supported by Eurojust, is an important step towards ensuring accountability for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Ukraine and Iceland support the establishment of the Centre and its activities.
Russia is under the obligation to ensure full reparation for the damage, loss or injury arising from its wrongful acts. The rights of victims should be secured through a comprehensive reparations mechanism. It should include the establishment of an international register to record and document evidence and claims for damage, loss or injury, a claims commission, and a fund.
As a first step in ensuring comprehensive reparations, an international register could be established under the auspices of the Council of Europe. We welcome steps that have already been taken to develop modalities for such a register.
At the 4th Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Reykjavík on 16-17 May 2023, support for Ukraine and ensuring accountability will figure prominently on the agenda.
We continue to work together for meaningful accountability and justice for victims of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Our message to Russia is that the world is watching you, and you will be held to account.”