Representatives from more than 40 countries have taken part in the second meeting of the Conference of Participants of the Register of damage caused by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, held in the Latvian capital, Riga.
“With this second meeting of the Register of Damage, we are taking a further step towards justice and accountability for damages caused by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The Council of Europe continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its member state Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes,” said the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Bjørn Berge, at the opening.
“It is our duty as the international community to support Ukraine in its efforts to restore the rule of law and bring the aggressors to justice. One way to do this is through the Register of Damage for Ukraine. The informal conference of ministers of justice provided political guidance to the member states for focused and efficient functioning of the Register by supporting Riga principles,” said the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Latvia, Inese Lībiņa-Egnere.
“A strong work force, an excellent Board and the digital platform that is being developed will allow the Register to become fully operational and in a position to start taking in claims. We are setting an ambitious goal of that happening in the first quarter of 2024, so that at least those who need it the most – the people of Ukraine – can start submitting their claims” said the Executive Director of the Register of Damage for Ukraine, Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi.
The Register will serve as a record of evidence and claims for damage, loss or injury caused to all natural and legal persons concerned, as well as to the State of Ukraine, by Russia’s internationally wrongful acts in or against Ukraine.
Since the first meeting of the Conference of Participants in June, a Host State Agreement with the Netherlands as the seat of the Register in The Hague was signed and has come into force.
This second meeting was devoted to financial issues and the procedure for the appointment of the Board.
The Register’s budget is funded by annual assessed contributions of participant states, as well as voluntary contributions; the Netherlands and the European Union have made substantial voluntary contributions to the startup costs of the Register.
To date, 44 countries and the European Union are participating (as participants or associate members) in the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Register of Damage for Ukraine established at the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik (16-17 May 2023) and many others have expressed their intention to join.
Meeting in Riga on 11 September, the ministers of Justice of Council of Europe member and observer states have adopted a declaration outlining a series of principles (“Riga principles”) to achieve comprehensive accountability for the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine and provide redress to all victims of the war, including through the focused and efficient functioning of the Register of Damage caused by the aggression.