• Українською
  • Iryna Mudra: russia must be held accountable for aggression against Ukraine
    Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, posted 12 March 2024 13:12

    On March 8, 2024, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Iryna Mudra took part in a side event “Achievements in pursuing accountability since two years of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine”, held in New York, USA. The event was focused on the implementation of the compensation mechanism for damages, caused by the war of the russian federation against Ukraine.

    At the beginning of her speech, the Deputy Minister of Justice addressed the participants: “In February 2024, we marked two years since the start of the full-scale invasion and marked the 11th year of russia’s war against Ukraine. The aggressor continues to wage a war of attrition in the hope of winning by using all possible resources amid war fatigue with the use of nuclear blackmail.”

    russia has resorted to constant missile attacks and the use of drones, destroying infrastructure and killing civilians. Against the backdrop of ongoing fierce fighting, lack of weapons and daily massive attacks against civilians, Ukraine still resists and continues to defend its independence, sovereignty and freedom. “Unprecedented levels of pain and devastation have been inflicted not only on the nation, but on humanity itself. Therefore, the russian federation must be held accountable for its aggression against Ukraine and is under an obligation to make full reparation for the human and material losses caused by its internationally wrongful acts,” said Iryna Mudra.

    In close cooperation with foreign partners and international organizations, Ukraine has created a unique concept of an international compensation mechanism for damages caused by russian aggression. This mechanism includes the following components: the International Register of Damage, a Claims Commission and a Compensation Fund. “The first tangible step towards establishing russia’s obligation to pay reparations was the adoption by the UN General Assembly of Resolution Res. L.6/2022 “Furtherance of remedy and reparation for aggression against Ukraine”. The document provided for the establishment of an international mechanism for compensation for losses, damage or injury caused by russia’s internationally wrongful acts in or against Ukraine. It was a historic moment not only for Ukraine but also for the entire international community.”

    On May 12, 2023, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution CM/Res(2023)3 under which the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Register of Damage Caused by Aggression of the russian federation Against Ukraine was established. The International Register of Damage is intended to:

    • receive and process information on claims damage and evidence;
    • classify and organize such claims, review and determine the eligibility of such claims for further inclusion in the Register;
    • to record admissible claims for the purpose of their future examination and adjudication.

    So far, 43 States and the EU have become Participants or Associate Members of the Register of Damage. In less than a year a lot has been done:

    • the governing bodies of the Register have been established;
    • the Register’s Board has approved its first set of rules and regulations of the Register of Damage required for the launch, including rules for submission, processing and entry of claims, as well as categories of claims eligible for recording in the Register of Damage;
    • the Register’s Board approved the list of categories and eligibility criteria;
    • a digital platform is being finalized to facilitate submission of claims and related evidence.

    On April 2, 2024, the Deputy Minister of Justice said, a ministerial conference “Restoring Justice” will be held in The Hague, the Netherlands. During which the technical launch of the Register for receiving the first statements and evidence from individuals will be announced. It is planned that during the meeting in The Hague, the Conference of the Participants of the Register will approve the claims categories and open the procedure for accepting claims.

    “At the same time, the establishment of the Register of Damage is not the ultimate goal in attaining justice for Ukraine and its people. It is crucial to provide the victims of russian aggression with legitimate legal opportunities to enforce the decisions of the future Claims Commission. Since the decisions of the Commission will not be judicial decisions and will not be enforced by national judicial systems, there is a need to create a Compensation Fund that will be part of a comprehensive compensation mechanism,” said Iryna Mudra.

    The process of agreeing on an international instrument to establish a Claims Commission is currently underway. Like-minded states that have taken countermeasures in the form of freezing russian currency reserves in their jurisdictions since the beginning of the full-scale invasion may take further countermeasures. In particular, states may seize sovereign russian assets and accumulate them on an account in an international financial institution, authorizing the latter to manage these funds to obtain maximum profit. For example, by investing in medium-term debt securities with a low level of risk. The proceeds are expected to be used to finance Ukraine’s urgent needs.

    “The cost of inaction and fear of seizing russian assets are too severe for Ukraine and the rules-based order. Refusing to seize assets will undermine the rule of law and set a dangerous precedent that will allow any state possessing nuclear weapons to violate the UN Charter with impunity,” the Deputy Minister of Justice emphasized.

    At the end of her speech, she informed the participants about other initiatives launched by Ukraine in cooperation with partners, where the UN has shown invaluable support. In particular, she spoke about the Bring Kids Back UA action plan initiated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The project aims to facilitate the return and reintegration of deported Ukrainian children and consists of seven key blocks, including the involvement of international organizations, the development of family-based care, and measures to bring russia to justice. Iryna Mudra also pointed out that Ukraine has become the first country to launch an all-encompassing coordination mechanism to combat crimes of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV).