Marija Pejčinović Burić said: “The decision to set up the Register of Damage under the auspices of the Council of Europe is an historic one. 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 Register will have its seat in The Hague (the Netherlands), with a satellite office in Ukraine. It 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. The first Conference of States Parties to the Agreement took place on 27 June 2023 in Strasbourg.

The establishment of the Register follows the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers decision adopted on 24 February 2023, the first anniversary of the start of unprovoked and unjustified full-scale military aggression against Ukraine. It is a part of the larger response by the Council of Europe to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

On 16 March 2022, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided, in an unprecedented move, to exclude the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe in accordance with Article 8 of the Statute, Russia’s aggression being in flagrant contradiction with the common ideals and principles of member States of the Council of Europe and in violation of international law.

The Council of Europe is the first and the only international organisation to date to have excluded Russia from its ranks. The exclusion followed the suspension of Russia’s voting rights in the organisation on 25 February 2022, the day after the start of the war.

From 16 September 2022, Russia ceased to be a State Party to the European Convention on Human Rights, definitively depriving persons under Russia’s jurisdiction of the protection afforded by the Convention. Despite this, the European Court of Human Rights remains competent to deal with alleged violations which took place before that date.

There are currently three pending cases Ukraine v. Russia at the European Court of Human Rights and one pending case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia which concern the events in Eastern Ukraine, including the downing of the flight MH17 in July 2014, and Russia’s military operations on the territory of Ukraine since 24 February 2022. There are almost 8,500 individual applications before the Court which appear to be related to the events in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and the Sea of Azov and Russia’s military operations on the territory of Ukraine since 24 February 2022. There is also one pending case, Russia v. Ukraine.

The Organisation has also been consistently providing legal and policy advice to Ukraine, training investigation experts and professionals working with victims of violence, especially women, including through the Council of Europe’s dedicated Ukraine Action Plan “Resilience, Recover and Reconstruction” (2023-2026) with a record budget of 50mln EUR.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities have also been active in addressing the consequences of Russia’s aggression and supporting Ukraine and its people.