The Netherlands to co-host international accountability conference for Ukraine

Together with Karim A.A. Khan QC, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and European Commissioner Didier Reynders, the Netherlands will co-host a ministerial conference on accountability for Ukraine at the World Forum in The Hague on 14 July. The purpose of the conference is to further strengthen and coordinate the various efforts by the international community aimed at investigating alleged international crimes committed in Ukraine. Ukrainian minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba will participate as guest of honour.

“The international community has already responded swiftly, taking a range of meaningful first steps towards accountability for potential international crimes.  There is an urgent need to further coordinate existing efforts on this front, so that all actions aimed at delivering justice benefit from a coherent and effective approach,” says minister Hoekstra.

To ensure that this collective work responds effectively to the legitimate demands of survivors and their families for justice, the Netherlands has taken the initiative to engage with the relevant parties and countries on how to align activities in the area of investigation and prosecution. The Conference will provide the opportunity for States and other partners to present their efforts and detail a plan for collective action to ensure that gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law do not go unpunished. The parties concerned will explore a range of opportunities for cooperation, including coordination of action with respect to conducting forensic investigation in Ukraine under the aegis of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

At the conference the ICC and Eurojust will also present guidelines for gathering and storing of evidence by national authorities as well as guidance to strengthen collaboration with non-governmental organisations. This will help ensure that actions on the ground in Ukraine can ultimately contribute to criminal proceedings at national and international level. Particular attention will be paid to evidence of sexual violence and ensuring that victims are not unnecessarily traumatised in the evidence-gathering process.

The outcomes of this Conference can also lay the foundation for improved coordination and accountability for atrocities that have occurred in other situations around the world.

The Dutch government attaches great importance to investigating war crimes and achieving justice for the next of kin of victims of the war in Ukraine. With that aim in mind, the Netherlands is supporting various accountability efforts, financially and otherwise, including the ICC investigation and the mandate of the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine. In addition the Netherlands’ forensic investigation team has also conducted investigations in and around Kyiv under the aegis of the ICC in order to secure evidence.