Legal mechanisms for Ukraine to be compensated financially for the damage caused by russia’s aggression were the main focus of a hearing at the meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Paris on 12 December, with the participation of Ukraine’s Deputy Justice Minister Iryna Mudra.
«Democratic Europe supports Ukraine. I believe we all agree that this is not merely our War, but a Global war that is putting international peace and security at risk. We firmly believe that international community shall act without leniency - to hold russian regime accountable for atrocities and destruction in Ukraine. Regrettably, every day the aggressor causes new destruction on the territory of Ukraine. The material destruction is unimaginable, and it continues on daily basis: shattered cities, damaged environment and ecosystem, crippled economy, amidst massive human losses. Therefore, there is a need to create a new and innovative Compensation Mechanism to collect, assess, and ultimately provide compensation for hundreds of thousands of claims against the russian federation for direct losses stemming from the aggression against Ukraine», Iryna Mudra referred to the participants of the PACE hearings in her speech.
She reminded that the main concept of the International Compensation Mechanism is the construction of a coherent system that would ensure real compensation for damages caused by aggression. Such a mechanism will be based on a multilateral international agreement and will provide for the establishment of a Compensation Commission especially dedicated to consider compensation claims, the Compensation Fund, from which the compensation shall be paid, and an effective procedure of enforcement of the Commission`s decisions.
At hearings, it was emphasized the extreme need to put the political support of the states into practical steps. And, therefore, the main attention was paid to the international Registry of Damages, the recommends to create which was separately stated in the Resolution of the UN General Assembly dated November 14, 2022.
International Register of Damages for Ukraine is an integral part of the compensation mechanism, that would serve to record, in documentary form, of evidence and claims information on losses, injuries and damages to all natural and legal persons concerned, as well as the state of Ukraine, caused by the russia internationally wrongful acts.
The Register will include the mandate to aggregate information on claims and evidence supporting them, organize claims (distribution by categories, grouping them into mass/class claims where appropriate), assess claims from the point of view of admissibility criteria.
The main admissibility criteria for losses to be included in the Register are territoriality, temporality, causality.
«Given the unprecedented scale of the damage, we discuss the use of digital platforms to submit claims and evidence. The digital platform will seek to automate the processes to the extent possible, including submission of data, verification of identities of claimants, evidence (such as title to property), geographic and temporal data etc», reported the Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine.
In parallel, in her words, Ukraine is working on the legal framework which will become the basis for the confiscation of frozen russian assets. Of course, such a global process will take time to introduce needed amendments both at the international level and to the domestic legislation of the partner countries.
«For today what we ask the states to maintain measures at keeping the frozen/blocked russian assets until the legal solution with their seizure and transfer to the Compensation Fund is found. That is what we call an incremental approach and how Ukraine sees the process of establishment of compensation mechanism», summarized Iryna Mudra.
The event, organised by PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, is the third in a series of hearings for a report by Damien Cottier (Switzerland, ALDE) on the legal and human rights aspects of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
The earlier hearings covered the PACE proposal for an ad hoc tribunal to try russian leaders for the crime of aggression, and other legal avenues for pursuing accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including possible genocide.
Mr. Cottier’s report is due for debate by the Assembly at its January 2023 plenary session.