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On the way to compensation: how to get, there register and get money

Saturday, 25 March 2023, 10:00

On February 17, the Government of the Netherlands officially agreed to Ukraine's proposal to create a Register of Damage Caused to Ukraine by Russian Aggression.  The registry will operate in The Hague, the center of international justice.

A detailed filing mechanism is still under development, but already now it is necessary to collect evidence and record damages, incl.  in Ukrainian databases.  We figure out how to assess the losses due to the war (including lost business profits), and who will be able to claim compensation.

Categories of claims

The International Registry will accept applications from both individuals and legal entities.  So far, the following categories of applications have been defined:

  1. From citizens who were forced to leave their places of residence.
  2. Claims related to war crimes.
  3. Claims of serious bodily injury, death of immediate family members.
  4. Individual applications for compensation for losses of personal property, shares, securities, movable and immovable property up to a certain amount, for example, up to $100,000.
  5. Individual applications in excess of $100,000.
  6. Applications from companies, corporations, and state-owned enterprises.
  7. Applications from the Government of Ukraine and international organizations.

It is important to understand, however, that not all lawsuits involve financial compensation.  Thus, people who left their places of residence due to the war will be able to claim payments only in case of damage or destruction of their property, or harm to health.  But the very fact of moving is not a condition for receiving payments - for this, support programs are provided in the host countries, and for internally displaced persons - in Ukraine.

National legal field

In Ukraine, the first official document regulating the issues of compensation was the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on the approval of the procedure for determining the harm and damage caused to Ukraine as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation.

The decree was issued less than a month after the start of a full-scale invasion, and since then it has been refined and finalized several times.  So, one of the latest additions concerns agriculture, namely, the destruction or damage to agricultural machinery and equipment for the agro-industrial complex, the livestock sector.  Thus, various areas of the economy that have suffered damage are gradually included.

An equally important document is the Methodology for determining the harm and the amount of damage caused as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation.  The document was published in mid-December 2022 and describes in detail the procedures, damage assessment formulas for enterprises and organizations of all forms of ownership.

Finally, the Law "On compensation for damage and destruction of certain categories of real estate objects as a result of hostilities, terrorist acts, sabotage caused by the military aggression of the Russian Federation" came into force.

It concerns primarily individuals who will be able to claim damages both individually and collectively.  According to the provisions of the Law, monetary compensation will be provided for:

1) damaged real estate objects (including for damaged common property of an apartment building);

2) destroyed real estate objects - private houses, garden and country houses.

As for movable property, for example, cars, there is no special legislation in this area yet.  But this does not mean that it is impossible to receive compensation.  Simply fixing the damage and filing claims is carried out within the framework of standard procedures: photo and video recording (you can also use publications in the media), a written statement with the testimony of witnesses, a statement to the police, and then an expert assessment and a lawsuit.  However, it is worth following the news - in case of adoption of changes in the legislation, the procedure may change.

How to prepare documents

The main task of the victims is to record all the evidence as carefully as possible.  First of all, prepare a package of documents confirming the ownership of a house, apartment, car or other property.  It is important to contact the police, take photos and videos, record the testimony of witnesses.

We can talk not only about damage to housing as a result of shelling, but also about robbery by the troops of the invaders.  Also, if a fire occurred as a result of hostilities, then record the data of the State Emergency Service.

At the moment, the procedure for fixing damage with the help of "DI" is also available.  Since the spring of 2022, all citizens of Ukraine whose real estate (house, apartment, dwelling) have been damaged due to the war can apply for compensation.

If you have already managed to make repairs in the destroyed premises, then keep the receipts and update the photo and video documentation so that you can visually determine the changes.  This will help determine the amount of compensation in the future.

Where else to report

In addition to collecting data in "Dia", there are several other sites involved in the analysis of such information, although their tasks are slightly different.

"Tell the Truth" is an intergovernmental platform for the effective collection and processing of information about the violation of human rights by the Russian Federation.  Among these items there are categories: crimes against the person and crimes against property.  The collected facts will be used to protect and represent Ukraine in the European Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice.  Both individuals and legal entities can submit information to the portal.

Information on war crimes is also collected by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.  You can submit information on the website or through a special mobile application.  Here, first of all, you can submit data on crimes against the person.  However, information is also collected on damage or destruction of cultural properties.

Another project was initiated by the KSE Institute (an analytical center at the Kyiv School of Economics) together with the Office of the President of Ukraine, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine.  Its main task is to estimate the total amount of damage in order to understand the size of the necessary reparations and reconstruction programs.

When will compensation start?

Of course, the main question of the victims is when the payments will begin.  People may feel that the redress processes are not going fast enough.  However, from the point of view of international law and similar precedents, earlier Ukraine moves simply at super speed, because in previous wars, similar processes were launched only after the end of hostilities.

The launch of the International Register of Damage is the first and fundamental actual step in the work of the compensation mechanism.  Next, a special Fund will be created for the accumulation of confiscated assets of the Russian Federation (we are talking about the amount of more than $ 300 billion of frozen assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation abroad) and a Commission that will consider claims and directly pay compensation.  Now the Ukrainian side is making every effort both in terms of finding legal grounds and in terms of ensuring multilateral international cooperation in order to obtain the consent of the partner countries.  The goal is to conclude an international agreement on the establishment of a compensation commission, confiscate the frozen assets of the Russian Federation and fill the Fund with them.

Disclaimer: Articles reflect their author’s point of view and do not claim to be objective or to explore every aspect of the issues they discuss. The Ukrainska Pravda editorial board does not bear any responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided, or its interpretation, and acts solely as a publisher. The point of view of the Ukrainska Pravda editorial board may not coincide with the point of view of the article’s author.

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