Restoring Justice for Ukraine Conference: Ministerial Dialogue Group speech by Minister Bruins Slot

Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot, during the Ministerial Dialogue Group at the Restoring Justice for Ukraine Conference in The Hague, on 2 April 2024.

Read also: Minister Bruins Slot’s opening speech and closing remarks at the Restoring Justice for Ukraine Conference.


Esteemed colleagues,

We are gathered here because of our shared convictions. We are gathered here because we believe that the world’s problems can never be solved by a monologue. Only by a dialogue. Because we understand that such a dialogue is fundamental to the pursuit of justice. And because we know that such convictions are insufficient on their own. They must always be followed by action.

And so, almost two years ago, when we recognised the need for closer collaboration, we took action. We established the Dialogue Group, which has significantly helped us in achieving our goals. As I said at the opening of today’s conference, we’re making significant strides. And this Dialogue Group has been a driving force behind that progress, allowing us to advance at lightning speed in terms of international law.

For that I’d like to thank the co-chairs of the four workstreams. Especially for ensuring our talks remain meaningful and relevant to all participants. This process has enabled us to support the Ukrainian Prosecutor General and his office; amplify regional and international activities; drive domestic investigations, and empower civil society, for example by supporting victims and witnesses, who are essential in the accountability chain. In this context, I’m delighted that the Secretariat of the Dialogue Group in Kyiv is now ready to support the Group’s valuable work.

Today, during our first ministerial meeting, we’ve reviewed the progress of the four workstreams. For example the great work that’s been done on the investigation of crimes against children. And also the collective support that’s been given to victims and witnesses. We cannot allow the survivors of horrendous crimes to become victims twice over. Survivors must be treated with care, and given a leading role in the process.

In order to increase awareness of these initiatives, we would like to further enhance the exchange between the groups. Because today is not just about reflection. It’s also about addressing challenges and opportunities, and planning for the future. It’s about securing commitment to the Group. In this respect, we welcome the active engagement of more countries. We need to consider the challenges the Ukrainian Prosecutor General and his office is facing. For example in seizing the opportunities presented by new technologies and open source investigation techniques. We need to address topics that require attention of all actors across the four workstreams, such as the ones I just mentioned. The crimes against and affecting children, And the need for a victim- and witness-centred approach. And we need to ensure our work can continue. In order to strengthen capacity and skills for national research and investigations, the Netherlands will make 10 million euros available for this purpose.


Esteemed colleagues,

Our work, here, in this group, is important. But our efforts will never succeed without those people in Ukraine, working in remote locations, on the frontline, or in liberated areas. Nor without the invaluable support provided by the forensic missions under the flag of the ICC, sent to Ukraine by several countries present today, including my own. These missions have made significant contributions by collecting evidence and investigating the international crimes that have been committed.

The road to accountability is a long one. We will have to walk that road with dedication and endurance. But above all, we will have to walk it together. Only then can we achieve justice and eradicate impunity.

Thank you.