Register of Damages created

Denis Malyuska, Ukraine's minister of Justice, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister …

Denis Malyuska, Ukraine's minister of Justice, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Iceland's Foreign Minister and Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine what Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland sign the Declaration of creating the Register of Damages. Morgunblaðið/AM

The creation of the Register of Damages in the Council of Europe was concluded by signing in Harpa this morning. The register is set to be operational for three years, where data is documented and claims for damages, losses or harm caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Present at the signing were Marija Pejčović Burić, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Þórdís Kolbrún, Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine and Denis Malyuska, Minister of Justice of Ukraine.

Six countries not signing

A total of 43 countries and the European Union have signed or announced their intentions to be members of the egister, but a few countries having abstained. This includes Turkey and Hungary, both NATO members, but also Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serbia and Bosnia are going to stay out of it.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said at the meeting that support and solidarity with Ukraine had been a priority during Iceland’s presidency of the Council of Europe and it was important that the outcome of the Reykjavík summit was that the Russians were held accountable for their attack in Ukraine in a comprehensive way. In order to make that happen, the European Council needed to play a strong role.

Historic decision

Marija Pejović Burić, the director of the Council of Europe, said it was a historic decision. Thus victims of acts of violence could be supported in registering what they had lost, but the register was also absolutely necessary in order to pursue damages later.

Mark Rutter, the Dutch prime minister, was also present, as the Council of Europe’s Register of Damages will have its seat in The Hague, and a branch in Ukraine. This means that the data will be at hand if there is a war crimes trial case tried before the International Court of Justice.

Denys Shmyhal, the prime minister of Ukraine, welcomed the register. “We are grateful to the Council of Europe and all the participating countries for having provided such high level governmental support. We invite other states from all over the world to join the damage register in order to express their support for the importance of Russia’s responsibility for their war against Ukraine.”

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Denys Sh­myhal Prime …

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Denys Sh­myhal Prime Minister of Ukraine and Katrín Jakobsdóttir Prime Minister of Iceland were in good spirits after signing the Declaration for the formation of the Register of Damages. Morgunblaðið/AM

Handing over the torch to Estonia

Jakobsdóttir was in good spirits when she spoke to a journalist from Morgunblaðið this morning after signing the declaration for the Register of Damages.

“This means we agree with the creation of a mechanism for recording the damages inflicted in Ukraine by Russia. This will then provide a basis for the payment of some sort of damages. There have been various discussions in that regard, the detention of Russian property, etc., but how exactly that will be implemented needs to be developed now.”

For rebuilding in Ukraine after the war is over?

“Damage funds  will be used for rebuilding, that is the idea, that the damages are compensated. The casualties will never be compensated, but the scope includes buildings, infrastructure, construction and environmental damage, which can be very complicated to compensate.”

What role will Iceland play in that?

“We have been holding this torch as the Council of Europe’s chairman for the past six months, but now Gylfadóttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs will hand over the chairmanship to Latvia today. We will continue to work on this task, but it is Latvia’s turn to take over the torch.”

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