Ukraine’s president tells conference that pursuing justice strengthens security in his country

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — on Tuesday urged delegates at a conference on justice and compensation in Ukraine to continue efforts to tackle impunity for war crimes in order to “provide real strength to our common security — security from aggressions and terror.” Ministers and officials from dozens of countries met in the Netherlands to discuss how to bring justice to victims of Russia’s invasion of , as the war sparked by Russia’s invasion drags on in its third devastating year. The has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s commissioner for children’s rights charging them with personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine. The court also has issued warrants for two senior Russian military officers for alleged responsibility for attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine. “Let the real peace be restored faster. And let everyone who destroys peace be truly afraid of facing trial in The Hague,” Zelenskyy said in a video message. Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin, told the meeting that his country has identified 551 war crimes suspects, indicted 374 and has already prosecuted 104 people. During the conference, a register of damage caused by Russia’s invasion was formally opened, allowing people to submit claims for compensation for damages, loss or injury suffered as a result of the invasion. The Hague-based Register of Damage Caused by the Aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, or RD4U, was established by the Council of Europe last year. It will not pay out any claims, but is a stepping stone toward an international compensation mechanism that has not yet been established. The launch focused on claims for damage or destruction of residential property. It said that between 300,000 and 600,000 claims are expected. RD4U aims to allow further claims soon, including those related to damage or destruction of Ukrainian critical infrastructure. Opening the conference, Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said the devastating toll of Russian attacks underscored the need to support Ukraine. “Because if we don’t, the country’s justice system will eventually collapse under the weight of these atrocities,” she said. The Hague, known as the international city of peace and justice, is central to efforts to bring accountability and end impunity for crimes in Ukraine. It is home to the International Criminal Court and the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine, and the Dutch government has offered to host a special tribunal on the crime of aggression. While the ICC is investigating crimes in Ukraine, it does not have jurisdiction to prosecute the crime of aggression in the conflict.