Belgium joins Council of Europe Register of Damage for Ukraine

EU member states – including Belgium – and the EU have announced they will participate in establishing the Register of Damage announced by the Council of Europe on Wednesday.

On the second day of the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik (16-17 May), establishing the Register of Damage caused by the aggression of Russia in Ukraine was announced.

The Register, which will have its seat in The Hague and a satellite office in Ukraine, should be established for three years and record evidence and claims information on damage, loss or injury caused by Russian aggression.

“It paves the way towards a future international comprehensive compensation mechanism for the victims of the Russian aggression,” a Council of Europe’s press release states.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte underlined, “Russia must be held accountable, including for damage suffered by Ukraine and its people.”

“We are therefore proud that the seat of the Register of Damage will be in The Hague, the legal capital of the world,” he said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the Register is “an important milestone on the road to justice and reparations for Ukraine and the Ukrainians who have suffered so much from this war”. However, he emphasised that “the hard work” was only beginning since “we need to ensure that the Register becomes operational soon so that victims of Russian aggression could submit their claims.”

For Shmyhal, establishing the Register is a first step towards establishing a “comprehensive compensation mechanism that will ensure that Russia pays full reparations to Ukraine in accordance with international law, including by means of its internationally located assets”.

So far, 44 countries and the EU have joined or indicated their intention to join the Register.

In a speech before the heads of state and government of the Council of Europe on Wednesday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo reiterated his country’s support for Ukraine.

“There will be no fair or lasting peace without justice,” he added. “The perpetrators and sponsors of Russia’s massive human rights violations and international humanitarian law will be held accountable to the Ukrainian people.”

“By establishing the Register of Damage […], the Council of Europe is making a decisive contribution to establishing an International Compensation Mechanism. I am proud that Belgium is a founding member of this Register. Belgium will participate fully in this initiative.”

He said that the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine was also a war against “our values, our democracies, and our idea of human dignity, which we protect and reinforce through the Council of Europe”, thus making Ukraine “the place where our future is at stake: the future of a European and international order based on the rule of law”.

The Council of Europe is an organisation that promotes human rights, the rule of law and democracy. When Russia attacked Ukraine, it was excluded from it.

(Anne-Sophie Gayet |


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