“The Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik was an important milestone for the organisation at a critical time and resulted in strong European unity in responding to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” said Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Chair of the Committee of Ministers, when addressing the Parliamentary Assembly.
The minister stressed the importance of the newly-created Register of Damage, as a first practical step towards a future international compensation mechanism, and called on all Council of Europe member states and beyond to join this initiative. Latvia will advance the operational launch of the Register and the first meeting of participants, at the end of June, will address the practical steps forward.
“We must spare no efforts to ensure comprehensive accountability for the crimes committed by Russia,” he said. “International efforts must continue to establish a special tribunal for the crime of aggression and the Council of Europe should contribute to this process with its expertise.”
In September, Latvia will organise an informal conference of European Justice ministers to provide a platform for discussion on how to advance Russia’s accountability, as well as the issue of reuniting Ukrainian children with their families.
“We should continue the implementation of already existing initiatives in support of Ukraine,” the minister said, adding that the Action Plan on Resilience, Recovery, and Rebuilding of Ukraine was one of these.
The Latvian Presidency will also work towards advancing national priorities, among which strengthening democracy and the rule of law, including the promotion of the execution of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgments, education and youth, freedom of expression, safety of journalists, as well as artificial intelligence.