The Ministers of Justice of the Council of Europe member and observer states have adopted a declaration setting out a number of principles (the Riga Principles) to achieve comprehensive accountability for the Russian Federation ‘s aggression against Ukraine and to ensure reparations for all those who have suffered in the war.
Source: Council of Europe's press service after the ministerial meeting in Riga on 11 September, as reported by European Pravda
Details: The principles emphasise that the Register of Damages for Ukraine should follow a victim-oriented approach to provide redress, in particular for the most vulnerable groups such as women and children.
They also underline the importance of assisting national authorities to facilitate the coordination of internal efforts to support the functioning of the Register of Damage and to conduct meaningful consultations with civil society and non-governmental organisations, including human rights advocates, as well as with victims and victims' rights organisations.
Ministers pointed out the importance of the Register of Damage as a first step to ensure that Russia pays for the damage it has caused to Ukraine through its illegal war.
The work of the Register, including its digital platform containing all data on claims and evidence, is intended to be the first component of a future international compensation mechanism. This will help ensure full and effective reparations to Ukraine and those affected by the war through a separate international tool to be created in cooperation with Ukraine.
Quote: "All allegations of crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, must be fully investigated and, where warranted, prosecuted at national and international levels in order that those responsible are held accountable for their actions."
More details: In this regard, the ministers underlined the importance of the arrest warrants issued by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in connection with suspected war crimes related to the illegal deportation and transfer of children to or from the temporarily controlled or occupied territories of Ukraine.
They denounced in the strongest terms the children’s forced detention or adoption by Russian citizens, as well as violations of their dignity and rights.
They also called on all relevant stakeholders, including international organisations that continue to work in the Russian Federation and Belarus, to take an active part in determining the current whereabouts of illegally deported and displaced Ukrainian children and to assist in their safe return.
Background: An agreement on the Register of Damage from Russian Aggression was adopted in May, at the Council of Europe summit in Iceland. At that time, 43 states joined the register. Switzerland has recently joined the register.
Read more about who in Ukraine will be entitled to a share of Russian money and how the new mechanism will work: Russian Funds for Ukrainian Victims: What European Leaders Agreed on at Reykjavik Summit