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Council of Europe ministers discuss Russia war crimes, accountability

Published September 11,2023

Council of Europe justice ministers and representatives discussed ways to hold Russia accountable for war crimes in Ukraine at a conference in Riga on Monday.

They also addressed compensation for damage caused by the Russian invasion, the return of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia and the establishment of a special tribunal during their informal meeting.

The ministers were joined by Ukrainian Justice Minister Denys Maliuska and Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.

"We are convinced that 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 on national and international levels in order that those responsible are held accountable for their actions," said a joint statement adopted by just over 40 countries.

"Justice must be served for all victims."

"A huge amount of war crimes were committed on the territory of Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of people struggled and became victims of war crimes or other crimes committed by Russian forces on the territory of Ukraine," Maliuska said, calling for the "creation of a comprehensive mechanism in order to hold Russia accountable for its actions."

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 to protect democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe. It is independent of the European Union.

It also has many more members than the EU, including almost all European states. Ukraine has been a member since 1995. Russia was excluded after launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.