Committee of Ministers President issues statement on Bucha and Irpin liberation anniversary

CoE/Presidency of the Committee of Ministers

The Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs and President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, has made the following statement on the anniversary of the liberation of towns Bucha and Irpin:

“In my last visit to Ukraine, I had the honour to pay tribute to the victims of Russia’s terrible crimes in Bucha and Borodianka.

The Ukrainian resistance has been much stronger than expected by the Russians. As a result, Russia has systematically attacked Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, targeting schools, hospitals, residential buildings, and civilians, including children and the elderly.

The unlawful deportation of children from the occupied territories to Russia appears to reflect their intention to erase their Ukrainian identity and heritage.

There can be no impunity for the horrendous atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine. It is crucial to document these crimes and damages caused by the invasion to ensure justice for the Ukrainian people in the future.

In our presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Iceland has highlighted the importance of accountability and we are hopeful that the Council of Europe can contribute to the process by hosting a register of damages under its auspices. I hope this can be established as early as the Council Summit in May. This would serve as a first step towards a compensation mechanism and be an important piece of the accountability agenda.

We must make use of all possible means to ensure accountability and the establishment of a special tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine would bridge gaps in the accountability system.

The unimaginable horror and sorrow that Russia has brought upon the Ukrainian people will have a lasting impact, but their bravery will also inspire future generations, as it has inspired us.”

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