As delivered by Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Mr President, Excellencies,
- There can be no just and sustainable peace without accountability. This is why Ukraine and the accountability for the crimes committed by Russia will be central to our upcoming Summit of Heads of State and Government in Reykjavik on 16 -17 May.
- Accountability for Russia started very early at the Council of Europe: on 16 March 2022 when we decided to expel Russia from our Organisation. Since then, our relentless action has followed a three-pronged approach:
- First, support to the Office of the Prosecutor General in his investigations into war crimes and gross human rights violations;
- Second, the establishment of a Register of Damage under the auspices of the Council of Europe, as a first, necessary component of a comprehensive compensation mechanism.
I am pleased to inform you that this Register will see the light of day in the next few hours. It will be one of the first legally binding decisions in the area of accountability and will hopefully provide some optimism to the victims of the ongoing, brutal Russian aggression.
- And third, we are ready at the Council of Europe to support any international effort to set up a special tribunal on the crime of aggression. Selection and appointment of judges, rules of evidence, case management are some of the areas where the Council of Europe’s expertise can be an added value.
- Mr President, Excellencies, rest assured that the Council of Europe is and remains mobilised to hold Russia accountable for its crimes and illegal actions. By working together, we will ensure that justice will be done.